Sleep experts say that sleep is critical to your health – a good night’s rest can help improve concentration and memory, allow your body to repair cell damage, and refresh your immune system. But have you thought about what happens when you DON’T get enough sleep?
WebMD notes that sleep disorders and chronic lack of sleep can contribute to all sorts of scary things like heart disease, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
In addition to serious health concerns, lack of sleep can AGE you. A relatively recent study shows that chronic, inadequate and poor quality sleep accelerates intrinsic aging; a link between sleep deprivation and skin aging.
“Poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night,” said Daniel Yarosh, MD, senior vice president, Basic Science Research, R&D, at The Estée Lauder Companies.
As if those things aren’t enough motivation for you to start counting sheep, Sleepdex, an online resource for better sleep, goes so far to say that sleep deprivation makes you dumb. Scientists tested subjects who were deprived of sleep for 24 hours and found a change in their brain. Sleepdex.org says:
“The decline in performance can be measured through behavioral tests and advanced imaging systems can even show lower levels of blood-bourne oxygen being delivered to important areas in the brains of those deprived of sleep for 24 hours.
Scientists found that a single night of sleep loss (total deprivation) reduces a person’s ability to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant stimuli in the visual working memory, while 4 consecutive nights of sleep limited to 4 hours/night does not reduce this ability nearly as much.”
Another study of 15 men, published in the journal SLEEP, found that just one night of sleep deprivation was linked with signs of brain tissue loss.
So, if you are making a commitment to be healthier and live longer, eating right and exercising, it makes sense to ensure you are also getting your eight recommended hours of sleep nightly.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
1) Daily exercise (as long as it’s not right before bed, when you should be “winding down.”)
2) Set a sleep schedule where you wake up and go to bed at the same time regularly. (TCPalm.com just reported that Heidi Klum is a big proponent of getting enough sleep and promptly retires at 9p.m. nightly.)
3) Keep your bedroom COOL (not warm), dark and quiet, making it a sanctuary.
Need some more tips on how to get your beauty rest? Read “20 Tips For Getting Your Beauty Rest” on Eliza’s Anti-Aging Arsenal Blog.
~The Anti-Aging Analyst