A wise lady once said, “Sleep is the best skin care regime.” That lady would be my mom. I remember growing up, I would constantly be awakened by her loud talking or her vacuuming the house 7 or 8 in the morning. Having gone to sleep no more than a few hours ago, I would moan and pull a pillow over my head to continue my sleep. That habit never changed. Even in college, I was always a late sleeper, 1 AM was the normal.
Yet, recently, I have been unable to sleep past 9 and staying up past 12 feels like torture. It might have something to do with the sunlight peaking in through my curtain-less window around 6 in the morning or with the fact that work starts a lot earlier. Take yesterday for example,
7:30 AM - Wake up 8:00 AM - Breakfast 8:30 AM - Put laundry into washers 9:00 AM - Finish vacuuming and cleaning my room 9:05 AM - Put laundry into dryer 10:10 AM - Remove and fold laundry 11:00 AM - Leave for Hot Yoga 12:30 PM - Head to lunch after a sweating session at yoga
There you have it, in the time I would have spent in bed normally, I was able to get all my chores out of the way. For the rest of the day, I was able to enjoy the unusual warm weather. By 11:30 PM, I was in bed and sound asleep.
But I can’t fall asleep before 1 no matter how I try.
I want to go out on weekends and hang out with my friends, so it’s impossible to wake up that early.
I definitely don’t do this every weekend, but it’s definitely encouraged in order for you to have a healthy life style. Also note, you should always try to eat within half an hour of waking to get kick off your metabolism. If you wait too long or skip on breakfast, your body will assume food is scarce and go into starvation mode and conserve energy. Sleep regulates a myriad of hormones in your body, which controls your entire biology.
- Immune system – A lack of sleep can cause you to be more prone to diseases like catching a cold, or longer healing time of wounds and longer recovery time after working out.
- Brain and nervous system – Without proper sleep, you will have shorter attention spans, have difficulty concentrating and focusing, get tired faster, which all influence your mood and stress level. It’s a lot harder to be happy when you feel like work is piling up and you can’t process them faster. The longer you spend working on a single job, the shorter your breaks are each day, which makes you more grumpy. And the more stressed you are, the less restful you are and harder it is to sleep. This is why stress and sleep come hand-in-hand. Altogether, it’s a bad cycle. Depression and bipolar disorder is also more likely. Think your cravings for alcohol has nothing to do with sleep? Think again.
- Cardiovascular System – Lack of sleep also harms your heart which makes you more prone to hypertension. We may not feel it today, but one day it will come back and haunt us when we grow old.
- Metabolic Function – Last but probably the most obvious result is irregularities in your metabolism. When you subject your body to less sleep, you have less energy throughout the day. When this occurs, your body will turn to food that would give you the maximum energy – sweets and fatty foods. Your body will also tell you to eat more often and feel less satisfied than normal when you do. This would cause you to overeat and destroy any weight loss plan.
- Cell Repair and Aging – Sleep is directly correlated to aging. I’m sure everyone has experienced eye bags and dull skin tone after an all-nighter. The less sleep you have, the more stress you’re putting on your cells and the less time they’ll have to repair itself. Collagen production naturally occurs in your body, but is greatly disrupted during time of sleeplessness. You’re also loosing moisture in your skin. You end up with more leathery texture skin rather than a healthy stretchy translucent color of youth.
All in all, don’t sacrifice your body for the extra hours you think you need at night and sleep at a reasonable time. Studies show, most of the cell repairs occur between 11 AM and 4 AM. Give yourself the luxury of sleep early and waking early. Get 7.5 hours if you can, but if you can’t, it’s more important that you sleep early. Especially in the winter months where seasonal depression is common due to lack of sunlight you come into contact every day. You can take full advantage of the sun starting from 6:30 AM.
Try it for a week and you’ll notice a huge difference in your skin color and texture as well as energy. You can find good tips to help you get more restful sleep, but the most important tip is having a routine. Your biological clock will help you with it so don’t fight it. Get up as soon as you wake and sleep as soon as you’re tired.