Beauty 101: Sleep

A couple of months back I was talking to a young girl at work. She was in her early 20s and was quite lovely, but her skin was dull and she had circles under her eyes. “What can I do to make it glow?” I told her to eat healthy, exercise, sleep well and on time, and yes, maybe pop a few supplements. “Yes, I must pop supplements for sure,” she said. Forget heathy food, exercise and sleep – she leapfrogged straight to supplements. That’s the problem with beauty these days, we want instant gratification. The issue with instant gratification is that it doesn’t give you long lasting results. Think about it: You may look amazing with contouring but you’re back to your own self the moment you wash it off. Botox may give you that tight, shiny look but it also makes you look evil (in my considered opinion). So forgive me if I take the long-winded route, but I guarantee solid results. The first essential is sleep:

– Experts say that you need 8-10 hours of beauty sleep. It is true that it will make you look fresh and rested, but really who has the time? I think even 5-6 hours of sleep is enough, if you sleep early. That old adage of ‘early to bed, early to rise’ is based on solid science. Most of the good hormones are produced in the body while sleeping during the first part of the night. For instance human growth hormone (responsible for repairing and remodelling bones, tissue, and collagen) is produced during this time.

– Aim to go to sleep by 11. Most people go through a phase of feeling sleepy during this time, but usually put it off by saying that it’s too early to sleep. It’s not. If you feel like sleeping at 9pm, do it. Whatever you need to do can wait till the morning. Go to bed early for 30 days in a row so it turns into a habit. Then don’t break it even on weekends.

– Stay away from alcohol. It may make you feel drowsy, but it will not give you a sound sleep. You will wake up in the middle of the night. Ditto for green tea. Try a cup of warm milk (it contains tryptophan, a sleep inducer) or chamomile tea.

– Read a book before going to bed. Think happy thoughts. Meditate. You can’t solve any problem in bed. You can only do it in the morning. If you find sleeping difficult try yoga nidra. It’s a meditation that you can do in bed. Even if you can’t fall asleep during yoga nidra it’s fine – an hour of this mediation is equal to several hours of sleep. Here’s my favourite on YouTube:

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