All mamas are fixated by the subject of sleep (or lack of it) – willing their little ones to make it through the night in order to catch a few winks themselves. Broken sleep can wreak havoc on our health and our skin, stopping the vital repair process and preventing the support of a healthy immune system. And it’s not just an old wives tale, sleep really does make you more beautiful (Heidi Klum gets 10 hours a night while Penelope Cruz clocks up 12 – and that’s good enough evidence for us!) Lack of sleep can lead to all sorts of health issues from depression and anxiety to weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and memory loss (or baby brain!) – so it’s pretty worrying (and evident) that most of us just aren’t getting enough of it or are compromising the quality of our slumber.
With little children comes little sleep (usually – unless you are one of the lucky ones in which case all those mamas out there want your secret) but many of us suffer sleepless nights even when the kids are in the land of nod, mainly – according to Dr. Khaldou Mozahem (a Neurology Consultant and sleep expert at Dubai’s American Center for Psychiatry and Neurology) because of our busy lifestyles and the impact of technology, electricity and electronics. This means watching tv or checking emails before you turn out the light – even sending a text message or a quick tweet can impact your night’s sleep, switching the brain on when it should be switching off. Artificial light prevents the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and enhances alertness – not ideal when you’re looking for that blissful 8 hours of rest! Dr. Khaldoun strongly advises avoiding these activities, replacing them with relaxing experiences such as having a warm bath, reading a book or listening to music – allowing body and mind to slow down and start the resting process. So next time you’re tempted to post a quick picture on Instagram or check facebook, wait ‘til morning – you’ll sleep better for it.
Diet also plays a key factor in the quality of our sleep. Before bed, avoid sweets and caffeine but also heavy, fatty meals. Consuming a big stodgy meal at night means that your digestive system goes into overdrive – likely to lead to a sleep disturbance. It’s much better to have a light meal early in the evening – think fruit, vegetables and yoghurt (no mamas, not necessarily all mixed!) and even go back to that old tradition of having a glass of warm milk before bed – said to have a relaxing effect along with foods rich in magnesium – green leafy veg, pumpkin seeds, whole grains and almonds are perfect. Or a particular favourite of mine is a big cup of chamomile tea, a herbal healer renowned for its calming effect. Other natural remedies include lavender, lemon balm and valerian root so look out for products containing these sleep-inducing saviours in your local health store.
Lack of sleep not only makes you feel lousy but it also put extra stress on the body – and increasing levels of stress hormones mean one thing – wrinkles. And lots of them. Not enough shut-eye means higher levels of the stress hormone cortisone which causes increased inflammation and the acceleration of aging and worsening of blemishes (scary huh!). It also reduces the skins’ ability to stay hydrated, making for a lackluster complexion.
So mamas, shut down, turn-off and get some sleep while the kiddos are snoozing. You’ll feel better, look younger and be healthier for it – we say hooray to that!
A session with Dr. Khaldoun Mozahem costs AED 600. For more information visit www.americancenteruae.com
Why not try these sleep-inducing products for the ultimate way to drift-off……
A couple of hours before bed, light NEOM’s Tranquility Candle and fill your room with a scent made for sleep. A heavenly blend of pure English lavender essential oil, sweet basil and jasmine, it not only smells like a dream but will ensure you have plenty of them too.
Available at Nstyle, Boutique 1, Burj Al Arab & Zighy Bay
For a sleep-filled night, soak in a bath of Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Oil. Just one capful will release the aromatic oils of nature’s most calming plants.
Available at The Product House and selected spas
Moroccan cedrus oil blends beautifully with olive oil, Bulgarian Lavender and evening primrose in Molton Brown’s Sleep Cedrus Body Oil.
Available at Molton Brown Dubai Mall & Faces
For a perfectly perfumed pillow guaranteed to send you into a sublime slumber, try the L’Occitane Aromachologie Pillow Mist – a blend of 100% natural essential oils including lavender, tea tree and geranium.
Available at all L’Occitane Boutiques
Part of the award-winning The Works Deep Sleep Range, the Deep Sleep Dream Cream is, quite literally, a dream cream. Designed to soothe tired hands and feet and to encourage a good night’s sleep, it combines a powerful therapeutic blend of oils including provencal lavender, wild chamomile and vetivert, ‘the oil of tranquility’.
Available at www.thisworks.com
Roll on the remedy with this nighttime treat. A balancing blend of essential oils including lavender, geranium and bergamot, apply to pressure points to help relax body and mind – perfect for weary worriers.
Available at Neals Yard Dubai Mall
Top image sourced via Shutterstock
Frankie is a sassy aunt to 4 little people (who she loves to spoil!). A self proclaimed beauty junkie she has worked for a number of magazines including Tatler and online title hip ‘n healthy before moving out to Dubai a couple of months ago as beauty editor for gulf news. When she’s not testing a new product or trying a new spa she likes to indulge her icecream addiction whilst watching a movie or five.