You snooze you win

Do you ever look back at your toddler years where you refused to take a nap and think “I was such an idiot”? You’re not alone. Thirty-five percent of adults don’t get refreshing sleep, 20 percent have difficulty falling asleep, and 19 percent said it effected mood and interferes with daily activities.

Understandably, sleep isn’t as easy as it should be. Between unnatural and blue light, deadlines, and stress, it’s no wonder 18 percent of people get less than 6 hours. Even worse, missing your beauty sleep can have real effects on your beauty. Because most of the work your immune system does is while your asleep, not getting those eight hours of shut eye opens your body up to all sorts of infections. Add this to the shift in pH levels that comes with sleep loss and you get hit with dry skin, itchy redness, and breakouts.

Recent studies have also found that a lack of sleep causes premature aging. To keep your skin smooth, your body utilizes the protein collagen. When you don’t sleep, your body produces stress hormones like cortisol, which break down skin collagen, leading to dark cirlces, pasty skin, and fine lines. Even worse, a lack of sleep can prevent human growth hormone production, which helps soften the factors of age by boosting tissue repair, muscle mass, skin thickness and bone strength.

Probably the most depressing thing of all is how fast sleep loss makes you gain weight. Shortened sleep schedules cause changes in leptin and gherlin levels, brain peptides that deal with hunger and appetite, and the type of food you crave, specifically high-fat, high-carb foods. Ah, the never ending Banana vs. Banana Bread struggle…

So what can you do to get in all those happy hours of sleep? Surprisingly, the first step isn’t going to bed on time. Because of dim-light cycles, your 9pm bedtime will just lead to you lying awake in bed. Instead, try dimming the lights two to three hours before you hit they hay. Avoid blue lights like computers, TVs, and cellphones before bed. If you absolutely can’t stay off of your phone, downloading an app which filters the blue LED will turn your phone into a red light source and will help you crash faster.

Next, be careful of what you put in your mouth. Anything caffeinated, from coffee to green teas, disrupt your sleep schedule. Switch to water or herbal tea – not soda – between noon and two. Stop drinking alcohol before bed. At least 90 minutes before sleep, forego the booze; it’ll mess with your REM sleep cycles. If you’re addicted, kick the habit. Whether it’s booze, nicotine, or even coffee, your body goes through withdrawal overnight every single night, which makes you 20 times more likely to wake up.

Finally, wake up early. Night owls are silently groaning (some of us included), but a problem just about everyone has is sleep drift; the time when you fall asleep seems to get later and later every night. To keep your circadian rhythms in check, subject yourself to early morning sunlight, between 6 and 8am. It’ll help your schedule stay on track, and you’ll be dozing off to sleep right on time - on your way to happy, rested, restored skin. 

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