We’ve all heard the term beauty sleep, whether it’s from a runway model, an actress, or a reality star. When interviewers ask these people how they stay youthful and glowing, that’s the response. But how true is that answer? Do a few extra hours of shut-eye really keep people looking young and healthy? The answer is yes. Although beauty sleep is often used in a joking manner or when someone doesn’t want to disclose their true secrets, it is important for a person’s overall well-being. Without proper amounts of sleep, everything from your appearance to your mental and physical health will be negatively impacted. This 2020, make beauty sleep your priority.
Why You Need Sleep
There’s nothing worse than hearing your alarm go off after only a few hours of shut-eye. It can leave you feeling disoriented and moody. However, with the proper amount of sleep, most people can expect to wake up feeling energized, alert, and prepared for the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, an average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep. Although, it will vary from person to person depending on age, health, and other factors.
Your body and brain have to recuperate and rejuvenate after everything you’ve done throughout the day. That’s why sleep is crucial because it’s during this time that your body processes all the information it’s received. Sleep is when your body does things like repairing the muscle damage you experienced during your workout or remembering the information you learned when studying for a test. When you don’t get an adequate amount of rest, or you’re repeatedly waking up, processes like restoration and memory retention are compromised because they are continually being interrupted.
Poor Sleep Quality Leads To Bad Choices
You won’t believe the effects poor sleep quality can have on your body and mind. It could be the reason for most of the uneasy sensations you experience throughout the day like fatigue, moodiness and constant hunger. Research shows that people who get less than six hours of sleep have similar glucose and insulin characteristics to diabetics. They have this even if they are very healthy. This is because when you don’t get enough sleep, your fat cells lose their ability to use insulin efficiently. Moreover, when your body becomes more resistant to insulin, it starts to produce more and more in order to function. This is not what you want. Rapid insulin increases lead to fat buildup and could eventually lead to diseases like diabetes.
Are you feeling extremely stressed out lately? Perhaps your appetite has also increased with the stress. There’s nothing wrong with a hearty appetite, but it becomes problematic when you start to lose control over it. A sleep-deprived body will produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. This is the hormone that triggers the reward center in your brain and makes you crave food. The combination of more cortisol and more ghrelin mean that you’ll need to eat more food than you normally would in order to feel satisfied. This is not exactly an ideal set up for weight loss.
In addition, poor sleep quality may lead to pangs of sugar cravings or salty foods. This can also make you less likely to say no to unhealthy, calorie-dense foods. In addition, more sleep helps refresh your mind and your decision-making processes. You never want to become exhausted but on a permanent basis. Sometimes pure exhaustion can be hidden. You need to know your limits. Being exhausted can impair mental clarity and judgment which may also make you more likely to grab a donut instead of a banana at work.
Low Energy Means No Gym Today
Think of sleep deprivation as the same feeling of being drunk. Your brain is fogged up and you’re not thinking straight at all. When you are drunk, do you generally make sensical decisions? Most probably not. Studies have found that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep are more likely to make poor decisions about the food they eat – reaching for sugary, refined carbohydrate snacks! Say bye-bye to your weight loss goals.
Perhaps you’re eating more but still hitting the gym. But have you taken into consideration the quality of your gym sessions? Not getting enough rest can significantly impact your time working out. Your body and muscles need time to repair while you sleep so you can push yourself the next day. In fact, your muscles grow the most during the time you sleep because that’s when you produce the highest levels of growth hormone. This helps to burn fat as well as repair and build muscles so you can increase strength and lose weight.
The flip side is you might not even make it to the gym. If you’re exhausted with a fatigued mindset, your muscles will be too. You will also feel sluggish and much more inclined to give the gym a miss. And if you do make it out, you won’t have the energy to train to the best of your ability. That is why it’s crucial to get high sleep quality to help keep you energised and motivated through your workout.
Having said that, there will always be hectic times in our lives that cause you to get behind on sleep. That’s normal and we’ve got to what we’ve got to do. Just be sure that it’s not happening most of the time. Try not to let the pressures of work, family, responsibilities, planning, finances, cooking healthy meals and exercising force you to toss sleep aside.
How Sleep Affects Appearance
While sleeping, your body begins to produce the necessary hormones for you to function correctly and look great in the morning. Melatonin, a hormone known for regulating the sleep cycle, can affect your hair. Studies have found a positive connection between hair growth and topical melatonin treatments. Meaning a decrease in melatonin may result in hair loss. Also, if you’re sleep troubles are a result of stress, keep in mind that an increase in stress levels means an increase in hair loss as well, because stress can cause alopecia.
The most common side effects lack of sleep can have on the skin are under-eye bags, acne, and premature wrinkles. When we sleep, our body repairs any inflammation and damage that has happened to the first layer of our skin, the epidermis. During the summer we are exposed to an increased amount of harmful UV rays, while during chillier times we have to combat the effects of harsh and frigid winds. Without rest, our skin cannot properly heal itself, which usually results in the skin looking irritated, red, and dry. Fine lines and acne can also occur because of a lack of hydration and collagen production.
As with hair and skin, nails also need the help of certain hormones to grow and look healthy. When you experience sleep deprivation, these hormones aren’t being produced as they should, which can lead to dry and brittle nails. Even if you have strong nails, doing simple activities can lead to breakage and weakness. Quality sleep will allow them to grow back faster and stronger. People may experience anxiety, stress, and even depression due to sleep deprivation, which can hinder a person’s nail growth as well.
How to Get Better Beauty Sleep
Eat the right food
Recent studies have revealed that in regards to diet, what you eat can impact how well you sleep as food choice may affect the hormones that regulate sleep duration and sleep quality. In choosing to indulge in healthier foods, you’ll not only reap the benefits of a healthy diet but you could finally relish a good nights’ rest.
Almonds are rich in various nutrients, particularly phosphorus, magnesium and the sleep hormone melatonin. The presence of both magnesium and melatonin in almonds is why many view these nuts as the perfect snack to relieve insomnia. Magnesium is known as a natural sedative as it helps to relax both body and mind by reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to an animal study published in the Journal of Natural Medicine, rats that consumed 400 mg of almond extract slept longer and more deeply than they did without consuming the extract. More extensive, human-centred research is needed, but it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy a few almonds before bed.
2. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is a popular tea and for good reason.
Aside from helping to boost your health through its rich nutrients and antioxidant content, chamomile tea may help to improve sleep quality. Chamomile tea contains antioxidant apigenin which, studies have revealed, may help promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia. Enjoying a cup of chamomile tea before going to bed is certainly the way to go if you’re looking for a restful sleep.
3. Kiwi fruit
Aside from being rich in vitamin C and vitamin K, kiwis are a good source of serotonin, which studies have suggested encourages the secretion of melatonin. One study found that adults with sleep problems who ate two medium-sized kiwi fruits an hour before bedtime fell asleep more quickly and soundly than when they didn’t eat anything before bedtime.
Enjoying fatty fish, like salmon, at least once a week may help to improve sleep quality. The content of omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish is extremely high and one fatty acid in particular called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), has been shown to help regulate the production of melatonin. Furthermore, said fish also contain vitamin B6, which is a nutrient that helps convert tryptophan to melatonin. Vitamin D can also be found in fatty fish and studies have shown that the combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D may help enhance sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin. More studies are needed to make a final decision about the ability of fatty fish to improve rest but it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy salmon for dinner.
5. Tart cherry juice
Made from sour cherries, tart cherry juice may help bring a good night’s sleep, thanks to it being a natural food source of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulate your internal clock and it also signals your body to prepare for sleep.
According to studies, drinking a cup of tart cherry juice twice a day brought some form of relief in the severity of your insomnia. Tart cherry juice is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and antioxidants which can all help to protect your cells from free radicals. Although more extensive research is still needed to confirm the role of tart cherry juice in improving sleep quality, drinking some before bed is certainly worth a try.
Yogurts and other dairy products like milk and Parmesan cheese are excellent sources of amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is needed to synthesize the sleep-regulating brain chemical serotonin, which has been linked to an increase in the secretion of melatonin. According to studies, the increased dietary consumption of foods that contain tryptophan can help improve sleep quality.
Pre-bedtime habits for better sleep
Aside from examining your diet, there are other lifestyle changes you can make in order to improve your sleep
Stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, sugar and refined foods may provide an energy boost, but that does little for you in the long run. Consuming too much added sugar can affect sleep quality by upsetting the body’s’ natural clock.
Switch off devices
Switching off electronic devices before bed and avoiding all forms of social media whilst in bed can help you fall asleep faster. The blue light emitted from our digital screens stimulates our brains, keeping us awake when all we need to do is rest. Try turning off your phone one hour before your usual bed-time.
Follow a sleep schedule
Going to bed at the same time every night will result in your body naturally adjusting. When this happens, you’ll begin to feel tired at just the right time each day which can help you fall asleep much quicker.
With the right diet and a more mindful approach to your sleep patterns, there’s no reason as to why you’d spend your night counting sheep. Click here to find out more about the aforementioned studies.
Control your room temperature
You’d be surprised how a small thing like the temperature can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. One thing to make sure of before you go to bed is that the temperature is right in the room. Sometimes opening a window or turning on a personal heater isn’t always the solution. An open window can end up making the room too cold while a personal heater can make the room too hot. A room that is too extreme in temperature can make it difficult to get sleep, leaving you tossing and turning all night. Investing in temperature regulating sheets may be the best way to make sure your body is comfortable.
Find ways to stress less
There is no way to eliminate stress from your life for good. However, you can try to take the necessary steps to overcome it. The first step is to analyze the source of your problems because you cannot begin to fix anything if you don’t know where it stems from. Whether your problems are big or small, brainstorming actionable ways to improve the situation is important. Even small changes can help because sometimes a little tweak is all it takes to make a big difference. After you execute some changes, make sure you keep going. Don’t stop making strides towards de-stressing a situation and your life.
Purchase a new mattress
If your mattress is uncomfortable, then it is going to be extremely hard to get a good night’s rest. As mattresses age, they get lumpy, sunken in and can cause health issues. Backaches, neck pain, and allergies are just a few medical problems that can arise as a result of a bad mattress, and result in a poor night’s sleep. It’s recommended to replace your mattress every eight years. However, if you have a good quality mattress you may be able to get away with extending that timeline a bit longer. You’ll know if it’s time for a new mattress if you’ve rotated it multiple times and it’s still uncomfortable.
Beauty sleep is important
Getting the proper amount of sleep should be at the top of your priority list. Whether you call it beauty sleep or not, it does provide a variety of benefits for not only your physical health but outward appearance. Don’t let lack of sleep be the reason you aren’t looking and feeling your absolute best! Make the necessary changes, get a good night’s rest, and watch yourself glow from the inside out.
Beauty sleep aside, not getting enough sleep can be very damaging to your health. If you are suffering from prolonged sleep issues, then you should seek professional advice.
Longevity has written many articles on sleep. Just search our site and you will deepen your sleep insights. For instance, did you know your sleep may be impacted by toxins in your bedroom?. Read more about this here.
Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D. “Can Stress Make You Lose Your Hair?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 5 Apr. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/expert-answers/stress-and-hair-loss/faq-20057820.
Emling, Shelley. “Here’s Yet Another Important Reason To Get Enough Shut-Eye.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 24 July 2013, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sleep-deprivation-effects-aging-skin_n_3644269.
Fischer, Tobias W, et al. “Topical Melatonin for Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia.” International Journal of Trichology, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, Oct. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681103/.
“What Happens When You Sleep?” National Sleep Foundation, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-happens-when-you-sleep.