How to Make the Most of Your Sleep to Stay Looking Younger
Most people tend to feel better after a good night’s sleep. Indeed, over the years, poor sleep has been linked to many health conditions; including obesity and cancer.
However, recent research has now discovered that lack of sleep can actually accelerate the signs of ageing.
Lack of Sleep Ages You Twice as Fast
According to a study at the University Hospital Case Medical Centre in Ohio, chronic poor sleep can have a detrimental impact on the way you age. Their results found that those who didn’t sleep well lost as much as 30% more water up to 72 hours after a skin barrier disruption; such as exposure to UV light. The effect? This greatly speeds up the signs of aging, as the skin is more susceptible to loss of elasticity and dryness.
As a result, those who regularly struggle to get enough sleep were generally noticeably more lined, with uneven skin tone and increased sagging. In the survey, those who slept badly also indicated they were less satisfied with the appearance of their skin.
How Much Sleep do I Need?
According to Geoff Wright, a skin and scalp specialist and director of the Hair and Beauty Partnership in London, it’s as much about when you sleep as how much you get. Wright claims that ‘there are set times when our body clock dictates that various processes take place in your hair and skin and states that ‘hydration and stimulation’ occurs between 8pm and 11pm, and 11pm to 3am is the time for ‘nutrition and regeneration’.
Whilst this has yet to be proven, it’s certainly true to say that optimum amount of sleep seems to be between 7 to 8 hours a night. Whilst asleep, our bodies have the opportunity to repair and regenerate cells. Lack of sleep means that this necessary function is interrupted.
Getting into the Right Sleep Patterns
Dr Adrian Williams, consultant physician and director of the London Sleep Centre, maintains that it is important to get into a regular sleep pattern, in order to allow repair and growth processes to work properly.
As a result, he advises going to bed at roughly the same time each day, and trying to wake up at the same time too; even at the weekends.
Sleeping in the Right Position
If you’re sleeping face-down, you could be restricting the flow of blood around your body, which in turn, will leave you puffy-eyed and dark-circled in the morning; making you look older. Instead, try to lie on your back if possible, as this will optimise circulation. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have a good flow of oxygen in your bedroom. If your room feels stuffy, open a window and allow some fresh air to enter the space.
In the Mood for Sleeping
If you struggle to get to sleep at night, here are some things you can try:
- Meditating just before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine or sugary food before you go to sleep
- Using aromatherapy oils, such as lavender or ylang ylang in a relaxing bath before bedtime
- Keeping exercise strictly for during daylight hours, not late at night
If you find getting to sleep really difficult and consider yourself a chronic bad sleeper or insomniac, it may be worth speaking to your GP, who will be able to assess your condition further.