Sleep and Anti-ageing

Ensuring that you enjoy good-quality sleep is essential for your body’s overall health – but did you know that the quality of your sleep can also affect the ageing process? Studies have shown that low-quality sleep can cause quicker and more pronounced signs of ageing, such as: lines and wrinkles, eye bags, dull or greying hair, loss of skin elasticity and more.

Rest and Repair

When we sleep, the body continues to produce and regulate the hormones we need to function in our waking lives. When our sleep is uncomfortable, interrupted or shortened, we are reducing the efficiency of our body’s repair work. If our bodies don’t have time to mend and repair damaged cells and tissues, we can experience health issues and signs of ageing. If we don’t sleep comfortably, we are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night or experience a poorer quality of sleep, leaving us feeling fatigued and sluggish, which also contributes to the ageing process.

Woman sleeping

Sleep and the Immune System

As our bodies repair during sleep, this improves the effectiveness of our immune system. While we are awake and busy during the day, the body has less opportunity to repair itself. Human Growth Hormone is also secreted during sleep, which contributes to the repair of our skin and other tissues. This means that the more good-quality sleep we get directly relates to how strong our body’s immune system is and how easily it is able to fight off disease. However, it is not just disease that is combatted by our immune system – the signs of ageing that we experience are also slowed if our immune system is functioning well.

The Ageing Hormone

One hormone in particular is partially responsible for producing the undesirable effects of ageing – cortisol. Known as “the ageing hormone”, cortisol is produced when we are stressed, sleep-deprived and overworked. The more cortisol we produce, the more at risk we are of developing early signs of ageing. Getting the right amount of quality, uninterrupted sleep can significantly reduce the amount of cortisol produced by the body and therefore cut down our chances of premature ageing.

Sleeping Positions and Wrinkles

The way you sleep can also have an effect on the appearance of lines and wrinkles. If you toss and turn a lot during the night due to an uncomfortable mattress, duvet or pillow, this could be causing you to shift positions too often and you may end up sleeping in undesirable positions. Sleeping on your stomach or side can cause unwanted lines and reinforce expression lines on the forehead, cheeks and chin. If you often sleep with your face towards your pillow, you may be increasing your risk of premature ageing. This is why sleeping on your back is the most effective way to prevent this. Having a comfortable duvet and pillow suited to your needs will help you rest easier and more comfortably, helping you to control your sleeping position. If you find it difficult to get comfortable lying on your back, it may be worth improving the quality of your pillow in particular.

Other Helpful tips to limit Premature Ageing

Sun Exposure

UVA and UVB rays contribute significantly to the ageing process. Make sure you protect yourself by wearing an SPF sun cream, preferably factor 30 or above.

Smoking

Smoking causes a narrowing of your blood vessels, which limits the amount of blood flow and oxygen to the skin. Some of the other chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the elasticity of your skin, causing it to droop and sag.

Getting Enough Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are the foods highest in antioxidants, which have been linked to slowing down the ageing process. Increase your daily consumption of fruits and veggies to combat the signs of ageing. A good way to boost your intake is by adding juices and smoothies into your diet.

fruits and vegetables

Stress

As mentioned above, cortisol is known as the ageing hormone. It is also a hormone directly linked to stress, which means that the more stressed you are, the more cortisol you will produce. Reducing your stress levels can significantly improve your chances of fighting off premature ageing.

Alcohol Consumption and Water Intake

Alcohol contributes to the appearance of sunken eyes, dry skin and capillary breakage. This is due to the accumulation of toxins within the deeper layers of the skin. Reducing our alcohol intake and increasing water consumption can help keep the skin hydrated and healthy.