Like most women, I usually wake up tired. The kind of tired that makes you want to crawl back in bed and sleep for 24 straight hours. The kind of tired that causes you to bump into your chest of drawers (that's been in the exact same spot for years). The kind of tired that leaves you looking like you feel. That kind of tired.
The other morning, after cursing the sleep gods for yet another day of tired, I inspected my face in the mirror. Definite, undeniable proof of pure tired. Which prompted me to wonder if there's really any truth to the term "beauty sleep." We've all heard how important sleep is for all the biggies like over-all health, good skin, and even staying trim. So, for the sake of the bags under my eyes and my not-so-perfect skin, I decided to investigate.
Can Lack Of Sleep Really Affect Attractiveness?
According to a study by the British Medical Journal it can. The zzz's experts say sleep is essential to a person's health. In fact, getting enough sleep at night ranks up there with nutrition and exercise. The study involved 23 adults (ages 18-31). The participants were first photographed after eight hours of sleep and then again after sleeping only five hours (and being kept awake for 31 straight hours beforehand). The photos were then rated (at random) by 65 randomly selected objective. In short, the rested people fared much better than the tired ones in the photo selection ranking (think puffy eyes, dark circles, pronounced wrinkles). The 65 determ choose the sleep-deprived photos as looking "tired" and "unattractive." I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have the courage to let people rank my attractiveness, sleep deprivation or no. But now we can finally use the excuse of needing more "beauty sleep" for those days when we are dog-tired and don't look our most attractive (hey, the scientists said so).
How Many ZZZ's Do I Need?
In short, there is no "one-size-fits-all" number. It all comes down to the individual and includes things like age, career type, genetics, and gender. Some are good with six hours; others need nine. The experts say adults should shoot for seven to eight hours per night (that's seven to eight solid hours, not the number of hours you're in bed). Sleep, albeit it a straightforward concept, is still a mystery to scientists but they do know that it's crucial to our well-being. Sleep deprivation isn't pretty … for health reasons or vanity.
Got It. But How Do I Fall Into Immediate Beauty Slumber?
We all do it: the mental checklist of all the stuff we have to do the next day, week, and month. If we only had a magic sleep button, right? Well, until they create one, here are some straightforward tips for falling asleep quickly to ensure a full night's beauty sleep:
No caffeine. This one may sound like a no-brainer but caffeine can hide in many forms (eg chocolate, soda, tea, cold medicines, Excedrin, ice cream, energy water).
Silence is king. A noise-free environment (versus sleeping with the TV on, etc) ensures no distractions or surprises (like those annoying extra loud commercials).
Skip the alcohol. I know, I know … who doesn't love a glass of vino or three during the evening? While it might make it easy to fall asleep quickly, alcohol has been proven to cause people to wake up though out the night.
Step away from the fridge. Don't eat at least two hours before you hit the hay. In short, if your food is fully digested before you go to bed, you'll sleep soundly.
Shake it. Exercise has been proven to aid in a solid night's sleep. Per an intense workout (the AM timeframe is recommended), your body will use the sleep period for muscle recovery. Plus, exercise helps provide firmer fannys and waistlines, so it's a win-win.
Bottom line? Sleep enhances health and beauty (and makes you less of a crank in the morning). If a few extra zzz's can reduce my under-eye bags and wrinkles, I'll be giving Sleeping Beauty a run for her money …