Sleep is such a hot button issue right now. People are struggling with sleep more than ever. I wanted to share some key tips to help get your sleep back on track. Sleep is one of the most powerful tools we have to stay strong, calm, and healthy – and that is exactly what we need during this incredibly challenging time.

Beauty Sleep

First, beauty sleep is a real thing. Deep, restorative sleep is crucial to our health and our skin health, specifically. Our skin is in its most restorative state during sleep. Poor sleep, on the other hand, is linked with problematic skin: dark circles, breakouts, dull complexion – we’ve all been there.

  • 1 in 3 people suffers from poor sleep.
  • 1 in 10 people suffers from insomnia.

Long term consequences of sleep deprivation include premature skin aging and significant health issues.  If you want to enjoy a healthy body, a healthy mind and skin that glows with health, listen up!

Circadian Health

The key to getting that deep, restorative sleep that allows your mind and your skin to truly repair itself overnight is to recognize that sleep is part of a larger cycle: circadian rhythm.

The secret to a healthy circadian rhythm is regular, cyclical and precisely timed exposure to periods of daylight and to darkness.

LIGHT cues are the strongest way to set your internal clock, and regular, predictable light exposure is essential to setting every organ’s circadian rhythm so that your whole body is in sync.

And it’s not just any light- it’s all about BLUE light.  When blue light enters your eye, it tells your brain to turn OFF its production of melatonin, so you can wake up and feel alert.  When blue light no longer enters the eye, the brain can begin pumping out the sleep hormone melatonin, allowing your body to begin to relax and ultimately fall into a deep state of reparative and restorative sleep.

If you can manage your eye’s exposure to blue light, you can align your internal circadian clocks, and this can have profound effects on your health and the health of your skin.

YOUR TOOLS:

Here’s what I do to limit my exposure to blue light to establish a healthy bedtime routine and optimize my sleep hygiene:

(1) I use blue light filtering glasses as soon as it starts to get dark outside. These are under $15 on Amazon and they work wonderfully. I use them anytime I have LED lights on, or if I am doing work after dinner on my computer or my phone.

(2) I limit my TV time before bed, instead opting to read. It makes a huge difference in my sleep, so it’s worth it to me. I try to shoot for no more than 30 mins of screen time (with my blue light glasses on) per night.

(3) Make sure your bedroom is cool and you aren’t overdressed for bed. You should feel cool and comfortable.  Your body is more likely to dive into deep sleep if the air temp in your bedroom is on the cooler side.

(4) Consistency is key as well when it comes to sleep hygiene. Whenever possible, I try to stay on a schedule and a routine when it comes to bedtime and setting my alarm – even on weekends. Plus, your sleep in the earlier hours of the evening is more restorative for your body, so I try to get as much of that quality sleep as possible!

(5) I have been syncing up my meals with the circadian diet philosophy, so I’m eating my heavier meals during daylight hours. This has made a huge difference in my energy and in my sleep quality.

Sweet dreams!

Dr. Whitney

 

You guys know I’m always reading the most cutting edge scientific studies that give me insight into living your healthiest life, and when your body is healthy, your skin is healthy!

The most exciting new science that has caught my attention surrounds a new way to approach food: The Circadian Rhythm Diet. Skin health, and our overall health, is not just about WHAT we eat — of equal importance is WHEN we eat.   Timing our meals first gained momentum with intermittent fasting, but the Circadian Rhythm Diet takes the science to a whole new level, and at its core is our exposure to BLUE LIGHT.

Humans have evolved to be highly sensitive to the 24-hour solar cycle.  We all have an internal clock that controls almost every biological system in our bodies, from our sleep-wake cycles to our mood, to our immune strength, our metabolism and our cellular health- yes, even our skin’s health.  The most important thing that sets our circadian rhythm, or sets our internal clock, is our exposure to NATURAL SUNLIGHT.

In the past, we rose with the sun, ate during daylight hours, and then rested and fasted when the sun set.  In fact, when our eyes perceive blue light, it tells our brain to shut down production of our sleep hormone, melatonin. It sets our internal clock to WAKE UP!  We need the sun’s bright blue light in the morning to become alert and active, and we need dark, or at least the absence of blue light, to jump-start our brain’s, and consequently our skin’s, sleep mode and recovery.

Now, we find ourselves totally MESSING with our internal clock as a result of using screens late that emit stimulating blue light rays. We’re tricking our brains into thinking it’s still daytime, and we delay our production of melatonin, impair our sleep, and mess up our health.  What else are you doing while you check emails or watch Netflix at night?  You snack.  Most of us eat a late dinner, oftentimes after sunset, and we snack until we finally pass out, way after our ancestors did when they followed natural light patterns in the sky.

When intermittent fasting became popular, people started to recognize that it’s not just WHAT we eat, but WHEN we eat is just as important when to comes to health. Now, we can take that one step further with Circadian Rhythm Diet.

Mounting evidence says that if you want to optimize your weight, your metabolism, your overall health, and of course, your skin health, you should try syncing up your mealtimes with the natural cycles of light.

Calories seem to be metabolized BETTER in the morning, and eating after dark jolts the brain into thinking it’s daytime and can disrupt the healthy circadian rhythm that is so critical for our health, including our skin health. As we know, beauty sleep is real! Sleep is a necessary phase of profound regeneration for the skin. While we rest, our skin cells are renewing, regenerating, and restoring themselves – and so is our entire body. Our immune system needs this quiet time to stay in peak condition.

If you want to try to take your health and wellness to the next level, give this a try:

  • Eat while it’s light, and limit what you eat during hours when it is dark.
  • Eat a heavier breakfast, a medium sized lunch, and a lighter dinner.
  • The earlier your dinner, the better. Try not to wait too long after the sun sets to eat.
  • After dinner, try to limit the amount you eat.

Craving info on relevant studies? Check out these links:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3756673/

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-10/05/c_138448870.htm

https://www.technologynetworks.com/cell-science/news/meal-timing-can-make-or-break-your-cells-circadian-rhythm-318644

Dr. Whitney

 

 

 

@DrWhitneyBowe

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