The Effects of Sleep on your Aging Process

Sleep continues to be something that most of us don`t get enough of, either because it eludes us, or because we do not make it a priority in our lives. Our society has become result driven and there`s so many places to go, new things to try, and people to see. In this excitement, however, most of us have underestimated the negative effects that a lack of plentiful sleep has, not just on our general health, but on our skin as well. The focus of our society on hard work and long hours has left most of us forgetting to make sufficient time for rest and it is commonly agreed that most Americans are deprived of an average of one hour of sleep per night.

“I`ll sleep when I`m dead” is a popular phrase for over-achievers and those who like to stay up late and rise early. However, it`s now been proven that those same people, if they continue to put sleep on the back burner, will in fact age at a faster pace than their counterparts who welcome sleep as a priority.

What Happens To Our Skin During Sleep?

Sleep is a time when the body rests, rejuvenates, replenishes, and regenerates. Particularly in the second stage of sleep called Delta sleep, which accounts for approximately one-third of the night, hormone levels peak and at this point cell repair takes place. That means any damage that has been done to the skin that could contribute to premature aging is repaired here. All stages of sleep are also responsible for dissolving free radicals – notorious for their contribution to early aging.

What Are the Effects of Sleep Debt On the Skin?

The most unfortunate side effect of sleep debt is the fact that it ages our skin more rapidly. Not only does it prevent the body from rejuvenating and repairing skin, it has been shown that a chronic lack of sleep, results in higher stress hormone levels like cortisol that cause premature aging and also leave us more vulnerable to diseases that cause early aging such as hypertension. Chronic sleep debt is known as continued and prolonged lack of sleep, rather than a few late or sleepless nights.

How Much Sleep Does Our Skin Need?

A generally accepted amount of sleep consists of 7 to 8 hours, with teenagers and young people requiring more, and seniors needing less. It has been suggested that if you need to set an alarm to wake up, you are interrupting your body`s natural cycle of sleep and a better approach would be to go to bed early enough that you naturally rise at your desired time. Need help getting to sleep? Try these tips: no caffeine before bed, eat lighter at dinner, avoid evening exercise, develop a stress management program, cut out extended naps during the day, take a hot bath, drink warm milk, and make sure your room is dark enough to promote relaxation.