Sleep – your secret weapon
They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing! A good dose of Zzzzz is essential for health and productivity, and can take years of your face! Really – we did not dream this up…
Betty White (94) once famously said: “Get at least 8 hours of beauty sleep. 9 if you’re ugly.” Ms. White, we’re not here to argue. Jennifer Lopez also swears by her 8 hours “no matter what” to keep up her energy as a working-mum slash mega-entertainer. Sleep, she says, is her secret weapon to looking this good at 47 and keeping all the proverbial balls in the air.
But why has sleep – the most basic physiologic need for all mammals – suddenly become a celebrity beauty secret and a profound health tip, as opposed to the norm for everyone? It seems that in our busy day and age, too many people treat sleep as a guilt-evoking luxury instead of a prime necessity to function at our optimum.
Quality sleep goes way beyond boosting our mood and banishing under-eye circles! It is a vital time for our body to recuperate on a cellular level, from healing and repair of our heart and blood vessels, to fighting inflammation, to strengthening our immune system, to reducing stress levels and aiding cognitive skills – especially memory. Scientists have discovered that our mind is surprisingly busy while we snooze and it’s during sleep that we can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while we were awake (consolidation).
It’s no surprise then that sleep also plays a crucial role when it comes to slowing down the senescence process, and no skin cosmetic can ever compete with a good night’s rest. It’s also good news for the waist! Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain, so when we’re sleepy, certain hormones go up in our blood – the very same ones that drive appetite – and we tend to overeat (usually cookies!) to compensate for the tiredness.
Yes, we’re all busy and running out of time to get everything done, but let’s start by changing our thinking and simply scheduling the sleep in. Think of it as an important meeting that your body cannot afford miss, or you’ll face the repercussions tomorrow! Note: only new mommas are exempt – everyone else is expected to attend!
So here are a few MYHRU tips to ensure you get those well-deserved winks:
- Avoid heavy alcohol consumption at night if possible – alcohol may help you hit that pillow harder but it will come back with a thirst vengeance and severely disrupt your sleep.
- Banish the glare – put away all electronic devices, as they emit blue light which stimulates the brain.
- Get active – keeping active regularly is proven to reduce stress and kick up feel-good endorphins.
- Hit the weights – resistance training, in particular, will reduce the number of times you wake up at night.
- Wind down – find your own relaxing routine to quiet a busy mind: reading, listening to music, stretching or meditating.
- Ensure your room is cool – our bodies naturally cool down so getting there faster will ensure deeper sleep.
Alright. Night night! Zzzzzzzzz…