We’ve all heard of getting your beauty rest, but have you ever stopped to wonder if there’s any truth to this saying? Some research indicates it’s accurate, and you may be surprised by just how much sleep can affect your looks and overall health. Despite the rejuvenating effects of sleep, many of us are still missing out on getting a good night’s rest. This is why just about anyone can benefit from making a concerted effort to sleep better – because you’ll see and feel the effects.
Is Sleep the Secret to Staying Young?
Think about the things we associate with youth: on the outside, it’s having vibrant skin and hair. On the inside, it’s feeling energetic, healthy, and strong. Even though you can’t freeze time, you can minimize signs of aging through better sleep. When we sleep, our bodies produce growth hormones, which help repair cells that produce collagen. The long-term effect of this process is that it keeps wrinkles away. Your body also produces the chemical melatonin while you sleep. According to Well and Good, melatonin is a hormone that doubles as an antioxidant, which means it helps with dark spots, fine lines, and even skin cancers.
At the same time, consistently enjoying quality sleep combats a whole host of health problems, like memory loss, inflammation, stress, and your overall energy level. Insufficient sleep suppresses your immune system, too, leaving you more vulnerable to illness. Thankfully, there are often simple but overlooked things you can change that make a big difference in how well you sleep.
There’s no way around it: mattresses wear out over time, and when that happens, you’re no longer getting the support your body needs. When you’re ready to buy, a little research can go a long way. Factors like your sleeping style, body type and size, and whether you have chronic pain all play into the mattress type and firmness that’s best for you. Thankfully, some popular brands like Saatva offer varying levels of firmness, such as Saatva’s plush soft, luxury firm, or firm models.
Along with sleeping on the right mattress, make sure what you’re topping it with is just as comfortable. You need to be comfy and cozy to sleep well, so it’s worth investing in good quality bedding. While Egyptian cotton is a traditional standby, Real Simple recommends exploring options like eucalyptus and microfiber, and there are even sheets made from smart fabric these days.
If you want to get the extra mile, consider getting a silk pillowcase, too. Silk pillowcases have gained popularity for their potential to aid beauty rest. Most of us use cotton bedding, which is highly absorbent. Absorbency is good for your bath towels, but not so much when it comes to your skin and hair. Besides retaining moisture, silk is hypoallergenic, so it’s also perfect for anywho who has allergies.
Your Evening Routine
Getting a good night’s rest actually starts before you ever hit the hay. The things you do throughout the day, especially in the couple of hours before you lay down, can determine how well you’ll sleep that night. Avoid stimulants and heavy foods before bedtime, and plan on devising a healthy, quieting bedtime ritual.
A handful of pilates poses can put you in a good position for slumber, and doing spinal rolling exercises can help promote a deeper sleep. For quiet contemplation, sipping herbal tea can soothe your body and mind. Done early in the day, CNN explains moderate to vigorous exercise can help you sleep better consistently. Make these sleep-friendly choices part of your lifestyle, along with any other activities that promote your rest and well-being.
Changing your evening routine, and troubleshooting other sleep problems, takes some work. That’s probably why many of us just go on suffering through restless nights. There may not be a secret to better sleep, but making these changes can be easier than you think. You’ll thank yourself when you wake looking fresh and feeling energized!
Sleep hygiene is often overlooked. Following the best sleep hygiene practices can improve your overall quality of sleep. It can help counter react to some of the serious problems of insufficient sleep and insomnia. Studies show that the right habits play a significant role in your overall quality of sleep. It normalizes sleep and familiarizes your brain and body to get the full amount of sleep that you need.
There are lots of habits that promote good sleep hygiene. Setting up a bedtime routine, tracking your sleep, exercising, etc. are some of the best habits. These habits play a part in getting good sleep. When you have a fixed set of activities every night before sleeping, your body falls into a natural rhythm; these activities prepare your mind for sleep.
Some habits cause sleep disruptions. Taking naps, using devices before bedtime, consuming caffeine or alcohol, smoking nicotine, oversleeping, etc. result in poor sleep hygiene. These habits reset your body’s internal sleep clock and trick your brain by a temporary relaxed feeling that negatively impacts your sleep.
Photo via Unsplash