According to University of Maryland, six out of every 10 adults say they have sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Eighty-five percent of American adults tell the Better Sleep Council they have trouble sleeping at night. One in 10 suffers from more serious chronic insomnia, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Sleep problems have become so widespread, the CDC declared sleep deprivation a “public health epidemic” in 2014.
It comes as no surprise that the biggest modern contributor to sleep loss has now been attributed to the use of electronic devices. At least 95 percent of people use some kind of electronic device, including televisions, computers, phones, or tablets, within one hour of bedtime, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Nearly one in five adults sends or receives work-related e-mails before bed. Furthermore, using devices right before bed increases the brain’s electrical activity, stimulating neurons that are detrimental to a sleep-inducing mental state. What may be more insidious is the physical act of responding to an e-mail, which can trigger a stress response similar to fight or flight, resulting in cortisol production in the adrenal glands – a stress hormone – that then unleashes its own portfolio of detrimental physical effects.
When it comes to skin, cortisol can breakdown skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Even after only a few nights of missed sleep, people have experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes. According to a new study conducted by Case Western Reserve University, chronic inadequate and poor-quality sleep accelerates intrinsic aging, including uneven pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin laxity.¹ In addition, poor sleepers have been found to have a diminished capacity to recover from outside stressors, such as epidermal barrier disruption and ultraviolet-induced erythema. One study found that sleep-deprived people were perceived as less healthy, less attractive, and more tired than after a normal night’s sleep.²
The good news is that professionals are in a unique position to help clients reduce stress in order to enjoy better sleep. According to different studies, relaxation techniques, including massage, can be very beneficial for reducing anxiety.3 This massage includes body and facial massage. Scents, including chamomile, vanilla, and lavender, have been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.4,5,6
One of the best ways to incorporate relaxing and sleep-enhancing benefits into a spa treatment is to combine massage with aromatherapeutic scents in a facial experience. Stressed, sleep-deprived clients are also short on time, so an express facial with soothing massage is the fastest and easiest way to help promote good sleep. For example, an express facial mask treatment combining massage with a vanilla-based mask can be performed in 15 minutes.
There is a myriad of ways professionals can help their clients promote healthy sleep habits while helping to counteract the negative effects of sleep loss on their skin’s appearance. Implementing a program for adequate sleep at the spa is not only helpful to the 79 percent of the population that get less than the seven hours of recommended sleep, but is also good business.
1. Oyetakin-White, P., et al. (2014, September 29). “Does poor sleep quality affect skin aging?” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology
2. Axelsson, J., et al. (2010, December 15). “Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people” BMJ
3. Field, T., et al. (2007, November 2). “Lower back pain and sleep disturbance are reduced following massage therapy.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies
4. Srivastava, J. K., et al. (2010, November 1). “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future,” Molecular Medicine Report
5. Warrenburg, S. (2005, January 1). “Effects of Fragrance on Emotions: Moods and Physiology,” Chemical Senses
6. Koulivand, P. H., et al. (2013, March 14). “Lavender and the Nervous System,” Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine