Can a good night’s rest really make you more beautiful? Absolutely. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. When you’re sleep deprived it shows in your appearance – tired, saggy skin, dark circles, bags and lack-luster skin.
Most of us get much less sleep than we should, yet if we really knew all the ways that sleep impacts our health, energy and appearance, we might not be so quick to skimp on our beauty rest.
Why is sleep important?
- Lack of sleep causes blood vessels to dilate which slows blood flow to the skin, causing dark circles and lack of healthy glow
- It can raise your cortisol levels, making you look and feel more stressed and tense, which makes you look tired and even older
- If you’re up late drinking, the affects are even worse as alcohol effects sleep quality and can contribute to bloating and water retention in the face
- During deep sleep you produce the highest amounts of growth hormone – which repairs cells and prevents premature aging
- It’s a key component of successful weight loss, keeping your cortisol, cravings and hunger in check
Essentially, your whole body goes into repair mode when you sleep. This is when you rest and rejuvenate. All of your cells renew themselves, including your skin. Between 10pm to 2am you produce the greatest amount of melatonin, which triggers the production of growth hormone – your anti-aging youth hormone.
While the ideal amount of recommended sleep is between 7 to 8 hours per night, most people struggle with falling or staying asleep, which results in chronic sleep deprivation. If that sounds like you, these tips may help you create healthy sleep habits.
Tips for Better Beauty Sleep
- Make your room as dark as possible, use black out blinds if possible. When light hits your skin, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland, interfering with the production of melatonin.
- Be aware of EMFs (aka electromagnetic fields). They can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin. Keep your electronic devices at least 3 feet away from your bed.
- Turn off the TV. This is another source of hormone-disrupting EMFs. If you must have it in the room, set a timer and keep it at least 6 feet from your bed.
- Create a zen environment. Keeping your bedroom neat and clutter free will help to create a calming environment, more conducive to rest and a good sleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool but not cold. The ideal temperature is no warmer than 70 F (21 C) for sleeping. Our body needs to cool slightly at night to ensure the release of melatonin.
- Avoid using a loud alarm clock. Waking up suddenly to a blaring sound is a shock to the system, and you may feel groggy after being jarred from the middle of a sleep cycle.
- If you go to the bathroom at night, keep the lights off. Even brief exposure to light can shut down melatonin production crucial for good sleep. If you have to use a light, use the lowest setting.
- Establish regular sleep hours. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time, even on weekends. Oversleeping can also contribute to feeling groggy and tired.
- Get to bed by 11pm. Our stress glands (adrenals) rest and recharge the most between 11pm and 1am and melatonin production is highest 10pm to 2am. Sleep quality is influenced by what time you go to sleep.
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours a night. Oversleeping can be as detrimental as deprivation. If you consistently need more than 9 hours a night, visit your doctor to test for any underlying conditions or deficiencies.
- Avoid stimulating activities before bed, such as exposure to TV, computer or iPhone. They can raise dopamine and noradrenalin, which are brain-stimulating hormones.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, or perhaps trying cutting out caffeine altogether (this includes caffeinated beverages and chocolate).
- Avoid eating at least 2-3 hours before bed. If you must eat something choose high protein like a handful of almonds. Avoid sugar and simple carbs that spike blood sugar.
- Avoid alcohol. Even though a few drinks can make you feel drowsy, alcohol actually disrupts a restful sleep. Alcohol metabolizes as sugar and therefore causes a spike in insulin, and it affects brain chemicals that alter both quality and duration, and the ability to reach deep REM sleep.
When you’re rested you simply look and feel better. You’re more confident, sane and able to take on whatever comes your way. Studies show that people who regularly get their beauty sleep, look healthier and more attractive. Isn’t that reason enough to get to bed?
Victoria Bailey is a Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and Weight Loss Expert, passionate about helping women and men transform their body, lifestyle and relationship with food through a holistic mind and body approach. Connect with Victoria on Facebook and her website www.victoriabaileywellness.com.