Anyone who has rolled out of bed in the early hours, staggered into the bathroom, and caught a glimpse of themselves in the mirror might be predisposed to assume that the ancient advice connecting sleep and looking good is not entirely on the up and up.
However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that getting a decent amount of shut-eye every night is an essential part of any skincare and health strategy.
To be clear, we’re not talking about rigidly insisting on forty winks in the late afternoon to replenish and revitalize before partying until 4 and getting up at 7 to go to work.
The key is sufficient and consistent sleep, and the avoidance of both sleep deprivation and building up a sleep deficit.
Evidence shows that sleep-deprived people are judged as less attractive by their colleagues. In a Swedish study that took photos of people after a good night’s sleep and after they had been deprived of sleep for 30 hours, the former photos were considered more attractive by observers.
So far, so obvious. No one looks good after a 30-hour stretch of sleeplessness. This writer can barely function after 12 hours without nodding off, so looking sparkling and fresh after 30 is definitely out of the question. However, sleep deprivation doesn’t have to occur all in one go. Cutting your ideal sleep time by a couple of hours a day over the course of a few days will have the same effect as a 30-hour deprivation.
The body needs sleep to replenish itself and carry out essential maintenance work. If you deny it that, you’ll start to look rough around the edges in no time at all.
It’s not sufficient to get 4 hours of sleep during the week and then try to catch up with a 12-hour snooze marathon on the weekends. Consistency and regularity are essential.
The maintenance of a proper sleep schedule is known as sleep hygiene, and experts offer a number of suggestions to increase the chances of getting the downtime that the mind and body demands.
Some people need 10 hours of sleep per night, and some people can make do with less than 7. The amount of sleep we need over our lives changes, little kids need a lot, adults need less, and older people often need still less (although it doesn’t always work this way.) The trick is to figure out what your optimum sleep length is, and make enough time for it.
You shouldn’t eat a lot before sleeping. Stuffing yourself with pizza might make you feel drowsy, but having your stomach churning away while you’re trying to fall asleep is not conducive to decent rest.
Obviously, steer clear of coffee for the few hours before you hit the hay.
Less obviously, too much alcohol can also interfere with the stages of sleep. That’s why you feel so lethargic the day after drinking a lot.
Environment factors have a big impact on the quality of sleep. Avoid light, noise, extremes of temperature, and snoring partners. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of peaceful comfort.
Your mind can’t go from whizzing with thoughts to somnolence very quickly. It’s a great idea to spend the 30 minutes before sleeping going through a relaxing sleep preparation routine. Reading or meditating can be effective ways to get your mind running at a low ebb. Try to avoid anything that might frustrate you or engage your mind too much.
People who get plenty exercise sleep better than those who are sedentary the whole day. Don’t exercise right before you sleep, but at some point during the day make sure that you engage in some sort of cardio, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk in the fresh air.
Do you have any secrets that help you to sleep well? Feel free to share in the comments
Image credit: thejbird
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