When I was a little girl I hated bed time. I thought if I was sleeping I was going to miss out on all the fun stuff. As I transitioned into my teenage years this relationship with sleep continued; I was a “night owl” never going to bed before midnight. I am now an adult (even if I don’t act like one) and I have a much healthier relationship with sleep. Sometimes I get excited just thinking about getting into bed, snuggling up to my husband, and going to sleep. For a while I had been waking up with a stiff neck and a pretty epic headache that lasted all day. I changed my pillow and voila, my neck and head pain vanished.
After I found the cure for my neck and head pain I realized that I was pretty restless during the night and I wasn’t waking up feeling refreshed any more. I changed my pillow so what was going on? Well, when I really started thinking about it, our mattress was about 10 years old. We bought a good mattress, but 10 years is a pretty good run and that mattress just wasn’t providing the best support anymore. A mattress will last, on average, 8 years so we managed to squeeze an extra couple of years out of ours. Mattresses are not the cheapest items to purchase, so we tried to make it last as long as we could. I think we pushed it a little too long and our achy, sleep-deprived bodies were rebelling. So, we went to the mattress store and spent a good hour lying on all the beds to see what felt the best. We ended up purchasing a memory foam mattress. We also bought a really cool adjustable base so we can raise the head and feet. I am now excited to go to bed and have been sleeping well again. In fact, I have been waking up before the alarm clock and I just feel good.
So what’s my point? Sleep is important for our entire body to function properly and this includes mood, performance, general health, and of course, our skin. Our bodies recover and repair themselves while we sleep. This is the golden time when we make new collagen which is an important structural support. Collagen is what keeps our skin plump and wrinkle-free.
It’s not just sleep we need but quality sleep, between 7 to 9 hours each night. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in excess cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is produced naturally in our bodies. It is necessary, but too much and we start to encounter all kinds of problems. One of those problems is increased blood sugar. This increased blood sugar causes a process called glycation. Glycaction damages collagen. We want to keep building collagen for plump, youthful skin; not break it down. Excess cortisol can also lead to acne, dark spots (hyperpigmentation), and hair loss. And, because excess cortisol makes our immune system sluggish it may cause flare-ups of eczema, dermatitis, and herpes.
It really is called beauty sleep for a good reason. Make sure you get enough quality sleep and always wear your sunscreen.