If the human race had a slogan like a car or a kitchen appliance it would be, “perfection comes as standard”. It seems as though every day we’re met with constant reminders of the unattainable standard of beauty which we should all be expected to attain. From our social media feeds to the sides of buses we’re constantly reminded of the near impossible standard of beauty to which we must all aspire. Thus, it can feel like we’re fighting a war on all fronts. Often it’s a war we quite enjoy fighting. Buying makeup is fun, shopping for new clothes is fun, relaxing with a face and hair mask and rinsing them off to find a fresher prettier version of ourselves underneath is fun. Yet, as hard as we try to look our best at all times it can feel like our every effort just isn’t enough. In an age where even our selfie apps allow us to make little tweaks to our appearances, making our eyes a little bigger or our jawlines a little more defined, it can seem like our best is never enough.
This never ending battle to be gorgeous at all times may seem exhausting, but fear not because it may be that one of the best things for our beauty and our general health could be to… Do nothing. In fact, you just go ahead and get some sleep… Because beauty sleep is (and has been for some time) an indisputable fact. Here’s why…
The science of beauty sleep
We’ve all heard our Mums, Aunties and other relatives tell us about how they need their beauty sleep. It turns out that they know something we don’t. While we’re asleep there are many fascinating processes at work, rejuvenating our minds and bodies while we dream.
Most of us know that getting some decent shuteye can help us to attain our fitness goals. When we sleep, our bodies secrete human growth hormone which helps us to build lean muscle mass, keeping our metabolism efficient and keeping injury at bay. Ever noticed that you get stiffer or are more prone to injury at the gym when you haven’t had a good night’s sleep? Fewer of us, however, are as aware of the myriad processes that can help our skin to look younger and more beautiful occurring while we sleep.
Firstly, while we sleep our bloodstream carries nutrients and water to our skin and hair; keeping them nourished and hydrated. This is why, when we don’t get enough sleep, our skin can feel dry and puffy. While we sleep we also send collagen to our skin, helping it to remain full, firm and youthful, preventing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 7-9 hours of sleep a night is the gold standard for adults and getting as little as 5 hours’ sleep can double the appearance of wrinkles on our faces.
So, we’ve established that our beauty sleep is essential, but why are so many of us struggling to get enough of it?
We lead busy and stressful lives
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit at a screen under fluorescent lights for 8-10 hours a day. Despite leading a largely sedentary lifestyle, we tend to carry around a lot of the stress of the day with us well into the evening and if we’re unable to let go of that stress via exercise and / or meditation it’s likely to keep us awake at night. Of course exercising and meditating don’t get rid of the myriad troubles that cause us to worry when we should be sleeping, but they can help us to gain some perspective on them and allow us to get the much needed shut eye to help us face our woes in the morning. Oh, and keep the laptop, tablet TV and smartphone off at night, too!
We underestimate the importance of our mattresses
When was the last time you changed your mattress? If the answer is “I don’t remember”, you need to change your mattress! Your mattress is one area where you shouldn’t be cutting costs. Treat yourself to something from this pocket spring mattress guide. Pocket spring mattresses are superior to cheaper cage sprung mattresses in every way, giving you the support and comfort you need to drift off to a perfect night’s sleep every night. You need a quality bed, like these designs from Happy Beds, if you’re going to get a good night’s sleep.
We aren’t eating enough of the right foods
Far too many of us are dependent on processed foods full of refined carbohydrates, sugars and artificial ingredients that are bound to give us the jitters. Cutting down on caffeine, staying hydrated and loading up on nuts, seeds and fresh veggies and fruits is an easy and enjoyable way to make sure that you drift off to a nourishing sleep night after night.