Marcy Fitzgerald, MBA, MSN, CNP,
Founder of Our Health In Focus
We have often heard people talk about getting their “beauty sleep”. But what is that, really? Is sleep really tied to beauty? Glad you asked. The answer is a resounding YES! The science behind sleep is very well studied, and though not completely understood, we know that it is vitally important to proper functioning of many, if not all of our body’s organ systems. Why? Sleep is instrumental to repair and renewal at the cellular level. Like every other organ, skin is comprised of cells, so you can probably see where this is going by now….
During the day, our skin is exposed to UV rays, which damage the DNA of skin cells and can lead to accelerated or premature aging. This makes the cellular repair process that occurs during sleep critical to maintaining healthy skin. In addition, adequate sleep is indicated in proper immune function. This may be beneficial in helping the body fight off any rashes or infections that could present in the skin, hair or nails.
Sleep is also instrumental in the production of protein in the body. Collagen is a protein that is vital to a healthy, plump, skin appearance. Inadequate sleep leads to a decrease in collagen production, which will, in turn, lead to suboptimal skin appearance. One study showed that people who got less than 5 hours of sleep developed 50% more wrinkles than those who slept at least 7 hours per night. Yikes! Who wants that?
Now that you know how critical “beauty sleep” really is, how do you make sure you get the best sleep possible? You can start here:
- Get on a sleep schedule – Make it a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Establish this pattern and it will be easier to get the required amount of sleep each night.
- Go “screen free” – Turn off your phone, laptop, television, and tablet before retiring for bed. Though it’s enticing to believe that these things help us to wind down, the light emitted from these devices make it very difficult for your brain to “turn off” and get to sleep.
- Establish a routine – Find a relaxing action, or set of actions that truly help you to relax prior to bed. This could be a warm bath, a soothing cup of tea, listening to nature sounds or relaxing music, reading a book, or anything else that you find relaxing. And don’t forget your evening skin care routine at night!
- Keep it cool – Find the right temperature that allows you to sleep comfortably. This differs from person to person and is why a specific temperature is not suggested. It is generally recommended that you sleep in a cooler environment, as too warm a temperature may be disruptive to continuous sleep.
- Limit alcohol – I know I’m going to get in trouble here….Although it may initially feel relaxing, alcohol consumption may actually lead to more interrupted sleep and thus, lessen your sleep quality. (Please don’t shoot the messenger!)
Now that you know “beauty sleep” is more than just a cliché, go get some rest, wake up refreshed and sing your own version of “Good Morning, Gorgeous”!
Marcy Fitzgerald is a practicing Nurse Practitioner in the Cincinnati area. She founded Our Health In Focus to empower and equip women of color with the tools and the mindset to take responsibility, action, and advocacy for their best health. For more health information, follow Marcy on Instagram @ourhealthinfocus or visit the website www.ourhealthinfocus.com