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Get Your Beauty Sleep

09/04/2012 05:10PM ● By Anonymous

It’s not a myth

You’re on coffee number three, fighting the weight of your eyelids—which feel ten pounds heavy—and dreaming about your pillow while hoping that the caffeine kicks in soon. Your body feels sluggish and you notice your lack of energy. Besides making you feel like the walking dead, sleep deprivation has some serious consequences that can hinder your day-to-day performance, as well as more long-term effects on your mental and physical health.

Dr. Andre Berger, author of The Beverly Hills Anti-Aging Prescription says, “Most people need about seven or eight hours of sleep per night. There are very few people who can get by with less. There are some who think they can, but what they are actually doing is aging at an accelerated rate.” This aging is manifested by the exhausted, worn-out look that we can all relate to when we have had little sleep. Over a long period of time, the wear and tear that sleep deprivation causes can actually become more permanent. As Michael Breus, PhD, WebMD’s Sleep Doctor and a psychologist board-certified in clinical sleep disorders, says, “Beauty sleep is not a myth; beauty sleep is for real,” citing pale skin, dark circles, puffy eyes, and non-rosy cheeks in as little as two days of sleep deprivation.

In addition to detracting from your appearance, not getting enough sleep can have long-term effects that weigh heavily on your physical health, including a shorter lifespan, as shown in a study by the European Heart Journal, which reports higher incidences of heart attack and stroke.

If that’s not enough, consider the toll that lack of sleep takes on your mental health. Beyond feeling and looking exhausted, too little sleep impacts your day-to-day performance. Negative consequences include poor memory, reduced mental alertness, inability to concentrate, impaired reasoning, and weaker performance in problem solving.

To alleviate the problem, consider altering your lifestyle. Turn off the TV and walk away from the computer at least an hour before retiring. Make a ritual of preparing for bedtime by taking a warm bath and reading quietly. And be aware that caffeine, alcohol, and some medications—even several hours before bedtime—can keep you awake. An adequate amount of exercise will even out your sleep pattern, so commit to exercising daily. And while counting sheep might not be your cup of tea, you can wind down at the end of the day and discard the clutter in your mind by focusing on your breathing and your body in a relaxed, meditative state.

Written by Emily Erickson

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