It's no secret; most of us understand that a lack of sleep is not healthy. Many of us are already trying to improve our sleep hygiene or have at least investigated how we could do better. But, did you know that not getting enough quality sleep leads to premature aging too? Don't despair. There IS something you can do to prevent it.
The Effects of Sleep on your Aging Process
Our society these days is more results-driven than ever before. Sleep is either low on our priority list or hard to come by as we live our high stress, "I'll sleep when I'm dead" lifestyles. Most of us underestimate the adverse effects lack of sleep has on our health, not to mention our skin. These days, society is focused on hard work and long hours and getting just one more thing done in a day. This kind of lifestyle rarely, if ever, allows us to prioritize sleep as we should.
So if you haven't yet decided to prioritize sleep, perhaps this will make you reconsider. Science has proven that those who are sleep deprived (e.g., missing one or more hours of sleep per night) will age faster than those who get their optimal amount of restorative nightly rest.
What Happens To Our Skin During Sleep?
During sleep, your body rejuvenates, replenishes, and regenerates. This is when cellular repair and renewal takes place. Damaged skin is repaired in the Delta sleep state, which accounts for approximately one-third of your sleep cycle. Free radicals, which are notorious for contributing to premature aging and cellular degeneration, are dissolved during sleep as well. See, told you it was important.
What Are the Effects of Sleep Debt On the Skin?
Studies show that a chronic lack of sleep results in higher stress hormone levels such as cortisol, which contributes to premature aging, as well as making you more vulnerable to diseases such as hypertension. To put it simply, lack of sleep causes you to age more quickly, inside and out. If you are staying up late or getting a poor sleep once in a while there is no reason to be overly concerned. However, if you regularly struggle to fall asleep or find yourself waking often during the night, you may want to consider ways to improve the amount, and quality, of sleep that you are getting each night.
How Much Sleep Does Our Skin Need?
The general rule of thumb is that most adults require 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night, while most children and teenagers could use a bit more. I've read suggestions that if you must use an alarm to wake yourself up in the morning, you aren't going to bed early enough. Ideally, you would be better off going to bed at a time that allows you to wake when your body is ready naturally. Wouldn't that be nice? A bit unrealistic for most of us, though. However, if you find that you wake up still feeling tired, you can be fairly certain that you are either not getting enough sleep, or you are not getting the deep, restful sleep your body needs.
If you feel like you need to get more or better sleep, try these tips:
- Take a hot bath before bed
- Remove devices (phones, iPads, laptops) from the bedroom
- Avoid screen time for one hour before bed
- Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary (quiet, cool, dark, comfortable)
- Exercise early in the day
- Meditate before bed (there are some great guided meditations available on Youtube)
Sometimes the struggle to relax and wind down before bed is daunting. You may even want to consider trying a simple tool that is quickly gaining popularity: a weighted blanket. Many of our customers have found almost immediate improvement in how quickly they fall asleep and how much better and more restful their sleep becomes. They are especially helpful for those with anxiety or insomnia.