Between looking at screens all day (and well into the night) and a heavy reliance on caffeine, gen-z have more barriers to a good night sleep than any generation before them. Plus, with sky high expectations regarding productivity, success and socialising, achieving a good night sleep is intrinsically tied to maintaining mental health. We spoke to Jacqueline Lewis, co-founder of The Broad Place, and Meaghan Payne from k-beauty brand Laneige, to learn more about the most common barriers to a good night sleep, what to do for a better night sleep and why it’s important to not only your wellbeing but also your skin.
“Sleep deprivation in my experience, [feels] like going insane,” says Lewis. “[It] can wreak havoc on digestion, moods, your skin can flare up, [your weight can be affected], it can reduce your immunity…good sleep where possible is incredibly important.”
So, what’s likely preventing a good night sleep?
The most common barriers “are when we look at tech right before bed (this can also negatively affect our skin), haven’t let our food digest, or head to bed at different times [every night].” As Lewis explains, these things break our natural circadian rhythms, and as a result prevent cell regeneration and the building of strength and immunity that happens when we sleep.
What are the best practices to put in place to help improve sleeping patterns and quality of sleep?
Implementing a ‘power down hour’ explains Lewis, is the key to developing better sleeping patterns and improving the quality of sleep. “Power down hour is when you look at no technology, including the TV in the hour before bed…and avoiding working right up until you go to sleep” she says. “This will make an enormous difference.”
While it’s something we’re all guilty of doing, Lewis explains that looking at screens in the hour before bed can reduce the quality of our sleep by up to 30%. “[This is a] huge price to pay,” she says (even when you’re binge watching Outer Banks). Additionally, “a daily meditation practice will also help sleep [plus, work to ease anxiety]…as well as going to bed at the same time each night, and waking up at the same time each [morning].” This will create a much better pattern for the body and mind and result in a deeper, better sleep.
A few easy fixes also include reducing all the light in the room when sleeping, “so no clock lights glowing, or any devices that might light up in the night, like an iPad,” as well as being very present in your evening skincare routine or wind down time – “luxuriating [in an act of self care] will create a more mindful and relaxed mindset” before going to sleep.
Is there an optimal amount of sleep everyone should be getting each night?
We know, we know, it may not always be possible but “the latest science continues to back eight hours a night for sleep as the optimal time, but of course, it depends on the individual,” says Lewis. “In Ayurveda, a very old mind and body science system from India, the golden hours are between 10pm and 2am. The deepest sleep we have occurs within these hours, so being in bed and asleep by 10pm is [more important than you might think],” she says. The benefits of being asleep during the ‘golden hours’ span further than just your wellbeing too, with that specific period working as prime time for regeneration for your skin. “Skin becomes increasingly sensitive throughout the day, it is also common for it to become dry. Sensitivity and dryness cause a weakened skin barrier which accelerates the loss of sebum and hydration at night,” says Payne. Products like the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask work specifically during the ‘golden hours’ to “strengthen the moisture barrier of skin while you sleep to create healthy, nourished skin that doesn’t break down easily under external triggers,” which are likely to be faced during the day, explains Payne.
So, even though may be quarantine contributing to serious feelings of exhaustion, it may also be the perfect time to start experimenting with and implementing long-term practices to help improve your quality, as well as quantity of sleep. “Our bodies need time to regenerate cells, build immunity and strengthen on so many levels…most of this happens when we are asleep,” says Lewis. “The benefits of good sleep cannot be underestimated for our physical and emotional health,” she says.
What are you doing here? Log-off and get those z’s. You can thank us later.