The term beauty sleep has been around longer than face creams. However, there’s a truth to it that shouldn’t be ignored. Sleep performs a critical role in the body’s ability to recover, manage weight, and rejuvenate itself. Without enough of it, you’ll need more than willpower on your side to look and feel your best.
Perceived and Real Skin Benefits of Sleep
The skin acts as a barrier and protector, but it’s also the canvas of who you are. Your life sketch shows up in every wrinkle, line, and sunspot. And, sleep allows your skin to show your true story.
Estee Lauder sponsored a study that explored the effect of sleep on skin aging and function. The results showed that adequate sleep, that’s anywhere from seven to nine hours, reduced the appearance of wrinkles and lines. The skin’s ability to heal from daily damaged was also boosted with a full night’s rest.
The perception of health and youth are also affected by sleep. Researchers in a 2010 study used pictures of participants after having slept eight hours and another set after having slept half that amount to test the perception of their health. It was found that sleep-deprived people were perceived as less healthy, attractive, and, here’s a surprise, more tired.
It comes down to this—your skin needs sleep to perform and look its best.
Sleep Your Way to Weight Loss and Control
The effects of poor sleep extend well beyond your skin to appetite and craving control. Lack of sleep causes the body to release more hunger hormone and less satiety hormone. That basically leaves you hungrier without the “off” switch kicking in before you overeat.
At the same time, sleep deprivation also causes the “rewards” for eating high-fat, sugary foods to skyrocket. It actually feels better to eat foods that are unhealthy when you’re tired. Yet eating those foods puts you at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Devoting Yourself to Better Sleep
The amount of sleep you get and the efficiency of that sleep rely on your patterns of behavior. Everything you do from what time you wake up in the morning to when you eat your afternoon snack influences the timing of your sleep cycle. You can give yourself a sleep boost by cultivating habits that support deeper, more restful sleep like:
- Creating a Sleep Sanctuary: Stress can follow you everywhere, including into the bedroom. By creating a sleep sanctuary, you give your brain permission to let go of stress and relax. At night, keep the room dark, cool, and quiet. Soft, muted colors that don’t overstimulate the eyes along with comfortable bedding can help. A mattress that complements your sleep style and weight can reduce aches and pains. Do whatever you need to do to make your bedroom a retreat where stress doesn’t have a place.
- Developing the Ultimate Bedtime Routine: Your body loves routines. They help it adapt to your needs while solidifying the release and response to hormones. A bedtime routine also helps reduce tension, stress, and slows the heart rate for sleep. Try meditation, yoga, a warm bath, or reading a book, but be sure to perform the routine in the same order each night.
- Making Bedtime Sacred: One of the best, and easiest, things you can do to improve your sleep is to make your bedtime sacred. That means keeping it the same every night even on weekends. By doing so, your brain adapts to your schedule and your body responds appropriately to sleep hormones.
- Eating for Sleep: The kind of food you eat can support sleep too. Regularly spaced meals composed of whole fruits, vegetables, and lean meats fuel the brain and help it know when to start the release of sleep hormones. Caffeine and high-fat foods, on the other hand, either block sleep hormones or cause discomfort that can keep you awake for hours.
Your beauty is more than skin deep, but you still want radiant skin that shows the real you. Improving your sleep habits takes time, but it’s part of building a fulfilling lifestyle that supports your efforts to look your best.