Along with staying hydrated, tucking into vegetables and breaking a sweat, getting enough sleep plays a key role in how you look. We know appearance is only skin deep, and who you are as an individual is the most important thing (we wouldn’t have engineered a mattress designed to suit every body if we didn’t), but it is usually true that when you look good, you feel good. It’s the days when your hair falls just right, your makeup is on point, and you’re loving your wardrobe choices that it seems as if everything’s going your way - so why not do your best to make that every day.
Get a glow
For you, heading to bed means switching off, relaxing, and drifting away. For your body, it’s 9am on a Monday and time to get to work. While you’re out for the count, it’s busy repairing your skin tissues and producing new cells - this happens in both the ‘deep’ and ‘REM’ stages of the sleep cycle. It’s also prime time for blood circulation, which prevents you waking up with a dull complexion that’s a dead giveaway for sleep deprivation.
A healthy mane
We produce growth hormones while we snooze, which are vital for repairing and reconstructing our hair. The result of not enough sleep? More breakage and weaker strands. In fact, not sleeping properly can even lead to hair loss. This is because your body will be producing high levels of cortisol - AKA the stress hormone - to cope with your tiredness. The glands that produce cortisol are also responsible for the hormones that keep your hair healthy, and while they’re distracted dealing with your stress levels, they neglect your locks.
Beat the bloat
You won’t instantly drop a stone by changing your sleeping pattern, but poor quality slumber both throws off your metabolism and causes hormonal imbalances, making it really hard to maintain a healthy weight. Put simply, you’ll have too much of the hormone that makes you hungry, and not enough of the one that makes you feel full. Plus, plenty of sleep also means increased energy levels, so you’ll be more in the zone on the exercise front.
Collagen - the protein that gives our skin elasticity - is produced when we’re sleeping . Also, quality snoozing helps you stay properly hydrated, so your skin will look dry if you’re not getting enough time between the sheets. Hit the hay properly, and it’s plump, smooth skin all the way.
The reason you end up with dark circles after a bad night’s sleep is all to do with your blood vessels. When you miss out on your z’s your blood vessels dilate, and because the skin under your eyes is so thin, it gives you those tell-tale shadows. Clock up your eight hours, and all you’ll need is the bushy tail.
We’re not promising that you’ll have superhuman resistance to illness, but the immune system-boosting effects of good sleep are not to be sniffed at. People who skimp on snoozing are more likely to catch viruses - which are anything but pretty - and they won’t recover as quickly as someone who notches up a solid eight hours a night. While you’re in dreamland, your body produces protective proteins that are called into action if you get an infection. If you don’t have enough, you’re essentially going into battle with half an army.
We’ve all been there - a late night can leave you feeling grumpy, sad and irritable. If this becomes a cycle, your bad mood will only get worse, and could eventually turn into depression. In turn, struggling to fall asleep is a common side effect of feeling down, so once you’re in a rut it can be a seriously tall order to get out. If you’re well rested, you’ll be more alert and happier, which’ll show through your smile.