Sleep: The Beauty Secret You Can’t Afford to Ignore
It’s a highly effective 100% natural treatment for a multitude of skin problems—and it won’t cost you a penny. Yet even many skin-care care fanatics think it’s a waste of time. I’m referring to sleep. Deep, restful sleep—at least 7 to 10 hours of it every night—is one of the best ways to ensure a vibrant, youthful-looking complexion. Our bodies can devote a lot more energy to repairing damage from free radicals, environmental pollutants, infections, and other skin stressors when they’re at rest than when we’re pushing them through our busy daily routines. In fact, scientific studies have shown that the power of sleep to reduce wear and tear on our bodies can help prevent a range of age-related ailments, including heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases, memory impairment, and diabetes. Ongoing research at the University of Chicago on the role of poor sleep quality in type 2 diabetes and other diseases dramatically illustrates the profound impact of sleep on biological aging. Tests performed there showed that healthy young individuals who were deprived of sleep not only developed abnormally high insulin levels, but also suffered a decline in cell functioning similar to that of a 60-year-old. Our vulnerability to a variety of skin woes from acne flare-ups and under-eye puffiness to premature aging increases when we don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impairs our immune systems and disrupts hormone levels, interfering with the skin’s ability to fight infection and replace damaged cells with new ones. The decline in cell function caused by lack of sleep also makes it more difficult for skin cells to cleanse themselves of wastes and toxins. Modern science may have increased our understanding of sleep but it hasn’t done much to help us get more of it. In fact, ever since the invention of the electric light, the amount of sleep the average person gets has been decreasing. Unfortunately many factors, including stress, age, and poor health habits can also contribute to insufficient or poor-quality sleep. One of the best ways to a avoid a major sleep deficit is to "unplug" from the myriad sources of electronic stimulation that provide our evening entertainment. Turn off your cellphone. Don’t sit up half the night surfing the Internet or watching TV shows that assault your senses with nonstop action and blaring commercials. Spend some time really relaxing before you go to bed. Meditate, take a warm bath, or light some aromatherapy candles (warm, familiar scents such as vanilla are particularly restful) and listen to some soothing music. Develop a consistent nightly ritual that tells your body it’s time for sleep. You can also assist your skin’s night-time work by incorporating a high-quality all-natural face cream into your evening skin care regime. Make sure the night cream you choose is packed with plant-derived antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and moisturizers. Ingredients such as white tea, rosemary, hops, and horsetail that have a combination of these properties offer the most efficient approach to fighting the effects of aging and restoring a healthy balance to our skin.