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How a good night sleep can help you look beautiful and rejuvenate your skin.

Become a Sleeping Beauty: How a good night sleep can help you look beautiful and rejuvenate your skin.

Did you know that a good night sleep is probably the most powerful rejuvenating cosmetic procedure available? Research shows that sleep really can enhance your appearance. According to a recent study, sleep-deprived people are perceived as less attractive and less healthy, compared with those who look well rested.

Your physical beauty begins in your mind. We all know that worries and anxiety are bad for our health and that you can literally worry yourself sick. But your lack of sleep can bring a whole new host of beauty worries for you. When you don’t sleep enough, your body needs to push itself twice as hard to survive on a brink of fatigue. Your body sends energy from already depleted resource where it’s needed most: to the heart, brain, muscles, intestines, and endocrine glands. Skin and hair are the last in the list of priorities when our body has access to very limited amount of a recharge time. A lack of healthy circulation to the skin leads to sallow skin, brittle nails, and dark under-eye circles.

When we feel sleepy, our body attempts to put us in a state called “sleep homeostasis.” The amount of sleep each of us needs varies from person to person, but adults generally need around seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Any less than that, and you begin accumulating your “sleep debt.” This snowballing sleep deprivation has disastrous effect on our looks, including the following: 

  • Red, puffy eyes and increased number of wrinkles around the eyes. As we sleep less, our eyes are more prone to dehydration, which in turn causes micro-injuries to tiny blood vessels in the eye. Result? Redness, puffiness, and dark eye circles as the blood vessels in the lower lid area work hard and often get exhausted “serving” the skin around the tired eye with a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients.

  • More blemishes and increased skin dryness. The immune system is weakened without sleep. The number of white blood cells within the body decreases, as does the activity of the remaining white blood cells. The body also decreases the amount of growth hormone produced.

  • Wider waistline. When sleep deprivation mounts, the ability of the body to metabolize sugar declines, turning more sugar into yet more fat accumulating in the abdominal area. Sleep deprivation reduces levels of leptin, an appetite- depressing hormone. These two changes could lead to abdominal weight gain and contribute to your risk of diabetes.

  • Sagging facial muscles causing drooping eyelids and deepened naso labial (nose to corner of the mouth) folds. With chronic sleep deprivation, blood circulation in the facial area is weakened. As a result, facial muscles get fewer nutrients to remain strong and flexible. The continuous frown of tired face becomes permanent, causing even more wrinkles and sagging.

There are less visible but even more dangerous effects of sleep deprivation: 

  • Increased risk of breast cancer; 

  • Increase in stress hormones circulating in the blood; 

  • Increased inflammation, one of the key elements in the development of heart disease; 

  • High blood pressure, even in young people; 

  • Reduced short-term memory and concentration; 

  • Compromised verbal abilities;

  • Increased irritability, aggression, and hostility. Stroke, heart attack, diabetes—these are just some of the diseases that are triggered by sleeping fewer than six hours a night. 


When is the right time to doze off? 



Our body clock, known as the circadian rhythm, is a twenty four hour cycle in biochemical and physiological processes. Disruption of this clock result to all the negative effects mentioned above. Circadian rhythms are affected by external cues called zeitgebers, a term borrowed from German language meaning “time-givers.” The main “time-giver” for human beings is daylight. When the sun is up or when we create an artificial sunlight with lamps or candles, our eyes send the information on the lengths of the day and night to the pineal gland - a tiny structure shaped like a pine cone located on the hypothalamus. In response, the pineal secretes the hormone melatonin. Secretion of melatonin peaks at night and nearly stops during the day.


THE FUNCTION OF MELATONIN 


The quality of our sleep and the rhythmical function of our body clock are governed by the hormone melatonin. Known as the “hormone of darkness,” melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, reportedly six to ten times more effective than vitamin E. Lack of melatonin is linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases; glaucoma; depressive disorder; breast, prostate, liver, ovarian, and colorectal cancers; and melanoma. As a natural antioxidant with immunity-enhancing properties, this cancer scavenger protects skin cells and mitochondrial DNA and stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory substances such as interleukins and interferon, according to the findings by scientists from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. Lack of sleep, nighttime work, frequent wakefulness, and sleeping with a light source in the bedroom all disrupt normal circadian rhythms and may increase the risk of developing cancer. Even a dim light in the bedroom can seep through eyelids and disrupt melatonin release.


It has been suspected that women who sleep with a light source in their bedrooms have an increased risk for breast cancer. As a hormone, melatonin counteracts the effects of ESTROGEN. Low levels of melatonin during the night automatically mean higher levels of reproductive hormones fluctuating in the woman’s body during the day. As a result, sleep-deprived women or those who must work during the night have higher risk of breast and other hormone dependent cancers.


Melatonin appears to protect our youthful looks as well. Melatonin helps protect our skin from UV skin damage and also helps the skin to produce another powerful protective substance, vitamin D. 

There are several natural ways to preserve melatonin levels. Thankfully, these healthy lifestyle changes also help boost your mood and improve sleep. Increase your daytime and especially morning sunlight exposure; Eliminate all sources of light in your bedroom. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet. Get rid of night lights, alarm clocks with visible digits, and plug off all electric appliances to avoid those red and green LED lights shining from the corners. Your bedroom should be so dark, you should not be able to see your fingers if you stretch your arm. 


DELICIOUS SLEEPING CURES

The traditional sleep remedy, a cup of warm milk at bedtime, has a lot of scientific studies proving its worth. Milk contains tryptophan, an essential Amino acid, which is a precursor of sleep improving neurotransmitter serotonin. Foods that contain tryptophan and increase serotonin levels include turkey, fish, chicken, cheese, nuts, eggs, and beans. Complex carbohydrates, such as a scoop of brown rice, a handful of nuts, or a few tablespoons of legumes, are essential to helping your brain properly process the tryptophan in protein. 
Zinc and magnesium are great not just for your skin and hair condition; these minerals are important for healthy sleep. Magnesium supplements can be used for sleep support. Buckwheat, tomato paste, artichokes, spinach, almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, while shellfish (especially oysters), beef, dairy, beans, and oats are excellent sources of zinc. Combine them creatively and eat them at dinner for an easier drift into sleepiness.

Eat a lot of cherries in all forms: fresh, dried, frozen, or as a juice. Cherries are believed to be one of the most concentrated sources of melatonin. Melatonin from food enters the bloodstream and binds to sites in the brain where it helps restore the body’s natural levels of melatonin, which can help enhance the natural sleep process. Bananas, corn, and oats also contain melatonin, but in considerably smaller amounts.


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