From A to ZZZZZ, why skimping on sleep can have serious consequences for your health & beauty.
A sleep deficit can do more than just make you yawn all day, it can take a toll on your mind, body and beauty. And we’re not just talking puffy eyes and dark circles. While you were sleeping, your body was hard at work repairing and restoring on a cellular level. A lack of sleep can make skin age faster with a drop in growth hormone and an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, leading to slack, lackluster skin.
Too little sleep can also create a mental haze and foggy focus. Sleep-starved brains function more slowly and have difficulty with comprehension and retention. During sleep, your brain catalogs your memories into short term and long term events. Without sufficient sleep, your memory becomes a blur. Logical reasoning, judgment and problem solving become difficult to manage after a sleepless night. Even routine tasks can seem too complex.
Create a sleep debt and you can bank on impaired reaction time. Many tasks require a sharp, alert mind but none are as important as driving. When you pPair slower reflexes with a hazy lack of focus and it becomes clear that getting behind the wheel when you’re sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that sleep-related crashes are often serious because there is no attempt to slow down. Feeling super drowsy? Be safe and let someone else chauffeur you home.
Beyond the cognitive effects of insomnia, there are also a host of other health issues that can arise from skipping your ZZZZs. Heart health is negatively impacted by sleep loss with a greater risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Poor sleep can lead to sluggish digestion and obesity as the body’s internal “full tummy” switch begins to work erratically. Lack of sleep has also been implicated in migraines, diabetes and even stroke risk. Climb in bed at a reasonable hour and let your body do its head-to-toe recharge.
Depression and anxiety can become looped in a vicious cycle with lack of sleep, where one condition exacerbates the other. Melatonin and serotonin, the neurotransmitters responsible for our best restorative sleep, are also crucial for a healthy, relaxed state of mind. Eliminating stress and focusing on mindful expression like yoga or meditating can often help restore balance.
Good Night, Sleep Right
If you feel excessively drowsy during the day or fall asleep the instant your head hits the pillow, you’re not getting enough sleep at night. To find your own bedded bliss, it’s important to start with a good bedtime routine with consistent sleep/wake times. Keep your bedroom a cool 60-67˚ for the most restorative, deepest sleep. Banish brain-stimulating electronics (smartphones, tablets, computers and tvs) from your bedroom. Clear your mind well ahead of bedtime so your body can fully unwind. Jot down your to-dos so they don’t trouble you overnight. Steer clear of sleep-disrupting caffeine and alcohol. If these tips don’t help and you’re still struggling, be sure to see a doctor to rule out a sleep disorder.