We all know that long waking hours take their toll first on our skin. How many times does your mirror show you dark under-eye circles and puffy, bloodshot eyes? Dull, gaunt skin? The crow’s feet and laugh lines?

What the mirror shows does not necessitate a rush to the nearest plastic surgeon. Consider first, this cheap and easily available remedy for your beauty problems. It’s a five-letter word called sleep – it is essential, not just for your overall health but also for your looks.




Sleep improves health

We need sleep and a proper amount of it each night; for the simple reason that the body repairs itself in the time that we are in dreamland. Extensive research over many years has proved that insufficient sleep is a major contributor to reduced life spans and the increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases like obesity, hypertension, stress, high cholesterol, diabetes, depressed immunity, hormonal imbalances, and depression. Even a couple of days of inadequate sleep are enough to decrease concentration, reduce mental and physical alertness and make the person irritable. Prolonged periods of not getting enough sleep are associated with greater risk of heart attacks, strokes, and breast and colon cancer.

Sleep improves looks

In fact, sleep is also critical to looking good – it is during our slumber time that the body repairs the daily damage caused to the skin by stress, ultraviolet rays and other detrimental exposures to dust and pollution. Sleep is when the body produces more proteins, which are the cell’s building blocks. Enhanced protein production ensures proper rejuvenation and revamping of the tissues and cells, which in turn provides vital regeneration and repair to the skin. So, not sleeping well is bound to show up on the face: dark under-eye circles, swollen, red eyes, sagging, dull and sallow skin, and early onset of wrinkles, crow’s feet and laugh lines. And fat, the bugbear of every woman is a natural consequence of insufficient sleep. Studies closely connect sleep with obesity: sleep less and the release of important appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin gets disrupted, causing weight gain.

So, everything mom said about sleeping properly was right after all. And that also explains the origins of the term beauty sleep. The ill-effects of inadequate sleep show up almost immediately on our looks – sleep well and look healthy, don’t sleep well and the face resembles an animal farm with raccoon eyes and crow’s feet. Models, actors and those whose face is their fortune unanimously agree on the power of beauty sleep. Model Claudia Schiffer claims that she just cannot do without her 12 hours of beauty sleep. While 12 hours may be an unaffordable luxury for the modern, multitasking woman, 7-8 hours is the recommended average snooze time.

Getting enough good sleep

Of course, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. It is a tough trade-off between juggling all those urgent and important activities and getting proper sleep – one of the two needs to be sacrificed and the guillotine is most likely to fall on sleep. Power naps come handy here. A power nap is a short period of sleep, and is guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed. Set an alarm for between 15-25 minutes. Sleep for around 20 minutes and you are sure to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Sleeping for longer may interfere with your night-time sleep. Good luck sleeping beauties!