There is a connection between sleep and appearance. A lack of quality sleep may lead to decreased collagen levels, resulting in wrinkles. In their book, Sleep: A Very Short Introduction, Professor Russell Foster and Steven Lockley contend that the lack of sleep affects our mood, intensifies our anxieties, and impairs our memory and judgment. Try these four steps to enhance your shuteye moments and improve your looks.
Step 1: Meals and Drinks
It’s important not to go to bed hungry; neither should you hit the sack on a full stomach. Either way, the discomfort will keep you up. Drinking excessively before bedtime is discouraged, too, if you want to avoid hitting the toilet in the wee hours. In addition, steer clear of stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which disrupt sleep. While alcohol makes you drowsy initially, it can interrupt your valuable snooze time as the night wears on.
Step 2: Humidity
A humidifier helps your skin retain its moisture if you are sleeping in an area with dry indoor air. While it might not improve sleep quality significantly, a humidifier does help to prevent dry skin, irritable nasal passages, and cracked lips. Conversely, high humidity can make you sick by triggering the growth of harmful bacteria and dust mites. If you are unsure about your room’s humidity levels, measure it with a hygrometer. Ideal indoor humidity levels should fall between 45% and 50%.
Step 3: Sleep Schedule
Erratic bedtimes can wreak havoc on our 40 winks. Try to maintain a regular schedule by sleeping and waking at the same time each day. This applies to weekends, too. A consistent sleep schedule helps to fortify your body’s sleep-wake cycle and promotes better sleep. However, it’s advisable to leave the bed and engage in a relaxing activity if you don’t find yourself nodding off within 15 minutes.
Step 4:Lights Out
Our circadian rhythm may be disrupted if we remain in a brightly lit area before bedtime. The rule of thumb is to expose our bodies to sunlight in the morning, and to stay in dim environments before we pack it in for the night. Similarly, put away the laptop or smartphone before you snooze, as the light radiating from them can stimulate the brain.
This article first appeared in NATURA magazine issue No.12.