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Can you really get beauty sleep? (Looking good for the holidays -12/22/10)

December 22, 2010

Looking Good for the Holidays

The holidays are here – can you get real beauty sleep?

According to the Karolinska Institute, yes. They now have the first “scientific” proof  beauty sleep exists.

Men and women were photographed at the same angle in the same pose on awakening, then after staying up 31 hours. Shown to 23 untrained observers, those up more than a day were found to look less attractive, less healthy, and more tired.

Are you surprised?

Yet the more interesting question is how people look after frequent or even chronic partial sleep deprivation – because that includes most of the population.

Perhaps even you.

Sleep and Beauty

Rest is regeneration.  We rebuild ourselves throughout the 24 hour day, but we perform special feats of renewal during sleep. Much of the most interesting rebuilding occurs in your brain, which is literally rewired during slumber.  If you  walk or move quickly 20-30 minutes or more per day, you will grow new brain cells; otherwise probably not.  Poor sleep means poor memory; worse learning; less productivity; plus a host of other health effects ranging from increased probability of depression, coronary artery disease and earlier death.

Yet odd things also happen to skin during sleep.  Much faster rates of “growth” of skin, which is dead tissue, occur during a well-slept night. Major changes also occur in skin turgor and where fluid goes throughout the body.

Fashion models can tell you they don’t want to skimp on their sleep.  Actors will tell you the same.  Not even make-up can eventually hide the beauty depredations of poor sleep.

Partial Sleep Deprivation

Americans have relentlessly shaved off sleep over the past century; University of Chicago researchers reckon the decrease has been 90 minutes over the past 40 years.

We’ve seen increases in obesity over those years that are eye-popping, as well as major upticks in the rates of depression.  Many researchers think sleep deprivation is a major part of that picture.

Yet one group that seems to regard sleep as something of an enemy are today’s teenagers.  For most of them it’s just a waste of time.

This is a very sad, very incorrect conclusion.  Kids who sleep more get better grades.  Learn more.  Are better athletes.

Studies of intercollegiate teams at Stanford, where researchers have looked at adolescent sleep for more than 40 years, demonstrate that asking student athletes to sleep 10 hours a night markedly improves their athletic performance.

We don’t just reformat cognitive memories during sleep and rest; we do the same for physical ones.  Your body rebuilds during sleep; consolidates newly learned physical abilities during sleep; retools your cognitive and athletic brain.

Yet 10 hours sounds ridiculously long to most teenagers.  On average they need to get 9-9.5 hours to function properly.

In many cases they’re now getting 6-7 hours a night.

Which means they sleep through many morning classes.  And physically really don’t look nearly as good.

The Internet and Beauty

According to surveys by the Pew Memorial Trust, 82% of  American 12-17 year olds take their cell phones to bed with them.  The Net is now a 24-7 preoccupation.

It’s also a major reason their elders are not sleeping as much.  A recent Travelodge survey in Britain showed 72% checking the internet late at night just before bed.

Much has been written about how lack of sleep is now leading to a more obese, less alert population.  Less ink has been spilled about the effects of rest loss on beauty.

But that loss is very real. Sleeping and resting less means you don’t look as attractive, besides feeling cranky, tired, and not up to your productive best.

So rest is regeneration, for your skin, your face, your body, and your brain.  With enough rest you’ll look and feel rested – fresh, sharp, alert.

And more beautiful.
Rest, sleep, Sarasota Sleep Doctor, well-being, regeneration, longevity, body clocks, insomnia, sleep disorders, the rest doctor, matthew edlund, the power of rest, the body clock, psychology today, huffington post, redbook, longboat key news

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