Beauty Sleep for Optimal Health and Wellness

With all the beauty rituals created from all around the world, sometimes the best regime you can implement into your daily life is at least 8 hours of sleep.   Getting enough beauty sleep is essential for optimal health and wellness.  Along with everything we do to try and look our best, sleep helps enormously and here’s why.

WallpaperThe quality and amount of your sleep directly affects your mental sharpness, performance, patience, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, your weight and most importantly – how your body repairs.

There are several steps apart of the sleep cycle:

  • Stage N1 – This is the transitional state where you can be easily awakened but your body begins to slow down muscle activity. This is also called the slow wave sleep where the body begins to relax and the blood pressure slowly decreases. Breathing becomes more regular and the brain is less responsive to its environment.
  • Stage N2 – In this stage the heart rate begins to slow and the body temperature decreases. This stage lasts from 10 to 25 minutes.
  • Stage N3 – This is the deep sleep where it’s difficult to be awakened. The brain waves begin to slow; blood flow is directed towards the muscles and begins to restore physical energy. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone to stimulate cellular growth and repair. This also includes the growth and repair of the body’s immune system.
  • REM (Rapid Eye Movement)REM is the stage in which you dream which lasts between 70 to 90 minutes. In this stage your breathing lowers but your heart rate and blood pressure increase.

Sleep is just like a bank account, if you miss a regular 8-hours sleep session and only get 6-hours of sleep then you are negative 2-hours of sleep in the bank. If your sleep account is consistently depleted then you can expect to have decreases in cognitive and bodily functions such as attention lapses and motor skill declines. In other words your nervous system is affected.

For each night you do not get enough sleep, you begin to suppress the immune system. 

Overtime with not enough sleep can begin to accumulate and the body can begin to refocus on other things like trying to stay alert and awake.  It also hinders collagen production which is necessary to keep skin firm and supple.  Because the body is not allowed to fully repair, the body permits many issues to begin that result in dry skin.  And of course the ever dreaded dark circles that can stick around for longer than you’d think necessary.  But this is how the body communicates with you, so lesson to what you body says and rethink how much beauty sleep you get and what you need to maintain your optimal health and wellness.

In an experiment conducted by researchers at the Washington State University and the University of Pennsylvania, 48 healthy men and women who averaged 7 to 8 hours of slept per night were evaluated for a two-week period. The group was spilt into 4 groups with the first group having to stay up for 3 days straight, the second group had 4-hours of sleep per night, the third group slept for 6-hours per night and the last group slept for 8-hours per night. Each group was tested day and night on their mental and physical functioning.

The results were on target for those who received 8-hours of sleep per night as they do not show any decrease in cognitive or motor skill performance. The second and third group receiving 4 and 6 hours showed a consistent decrease in performance each day of the experiment. The group receiving 4-hours of sleep were the worse, slightly behind the group receiving 6-hours of sleep. The data results from the experiment showed that after one week, a quarter of the 6-hour group would randomly fall asleep. After two weeks, the 6–hour group functioned as if they lost 2 consecutive days of sleep. Interestingly, the research participants also graded themselves and those groups receiving less than 8-hours of sleep rated lower each day in the beginning and then just slightly lower each day. The research showed that the participants were not aware of their degrading performance. In other words you may think you are okay with consecutive loss of sleep, your body is actually struggling. And finally loosing sleep consecutively will weaken the immune system and increase the risk of viral infections, high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain and diabetes.

What these studies do not take into consideration are the professional athletes, those with five or more work out days per week and of course those training for marathons. If you have higher physical demands should receive over 10-hours of sleep so that the slow wave sleep can help the body recover. Additionally children, teenagers and seniors typically need more sleep as their bodies are either growing or repairing more than the average adult. During the slow wave sleep, the first stage of sleep, the body will regulate the blood pressure, relax the body and inhibit the brain from stimuli. During this phase the pituitary gland will release growth hormones to grow and/or repair tissues and muscles. After the slow wave sleep, the body then transitions into the REM sleep where the brain becomes the focus. The brain will dream and begin to manage the previous day’s activates. It will connect the day’s activities to experiences and enable learning and growth. A good 8-hours of sleep will allow the body to recover physically and mentally.

Other research on the sleep process shows that as you age, the sleep cycle actually changes. On average, it takes longer to fall asleep, while the time in the repairing REM stage substantially decreases, and the total sleep time begins to lessen. If your body gets less slow wave sleep to restore itself each night, then the aging process will accelerate as a result. In other words, it seems reasonable to say that getting good sleep is one of your best defenses against aging quickly.

IMG_1802The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re logging enough hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.  If it’s a demanding week that requires you to skip hours of needed sleep, make sure to make it up as soon as possible.  And also realize to not make it a trend, your body’s smart and will adapt with you, so manage your body and listen to it’s needs.

What can you do to enhance your Sleep Process?

  • Have a regular bedtime
  • Thirty minutes before actually sleep time, create a routine away from lights of computers, tablets and TVs so that the body can begin to process melatonin which helps begin the sleep process.
  • If needed, create a relaxation process like meditation, deep breathing exercises or other ways to quiet the mind (and stop thinking about the day’s activities or tomorrow’s activities)
  • Avoid all caffeine beginning within the mid afternoon timeline
  • Eliminate Tobacco products
  • Ensure the bedroom is dark, comfortable and quiet
  • Avoid sugar 3 hours prior to bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol 3 hours before bedtime, so as not to awake once the alcohol wears off

Natural aids to help you sleep better?

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes with an elevated heart, at least 3 times per week. But avoid exercise just before bedtime so the body can calm the nervous system.
  • Utilize white noise
  • Consult your doctor first, but there are natural melatonin supplements to help induce the sleep phase.

An average of 8 hours of beauty sleep for adults is necessary for optimal health, wellness and even happiness.  Practicing regular good sleep patterns will help allow the body to repair, rebuild and prepare for the daily demands.

Share with us what helps you get a great night of sleep!  We’d love to hear new ideas that can help others.

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