Sure, ensuring that you have a good quality sleep is essential for your body’s overall health, but did you know that sleep and anti-ageing also go hand in hand? The quality of your sleep can affect the body’s 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 in order to function in our waking lives. When our sleep is uncomfortable, interrupted, or shortened, we are reducing the efficiency with which our body can repair itself. If our bodies don’t have time to mend and repair damaged cells and tissues, then we can expect to experience health issues and signs of ageing down the line. If we don’t sleep comfortably, then we are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and experience a poorer quality of sleep. This leaves us feeling fatigued and sluggish, which also contributes to the ageing process.
Sleep and Anti-Ageing: the Immune System
While we sleep and the body repairs itself, the immune system is improved and becomes more effective. While we are awake and busy during the day, the body has fewer opportunities 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, the stronger our immune system becomes and, accordingly, our bodies are better able to fight off diseases. However, it is not just disease that is combated 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 particular hormone is partially responsible for 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 ageing prematurely.
Sleeping Positions and Wrinkles
The way you sleep can also affect the premature appearance of lines and wrinkles. If you toss and turn a lot during the night due to an uncomfortable mattress, duvet, or pillow, then this could be causing you to shift positions too often. This could make you 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, then 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 on your back, thereby 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
UVA and UVB rays contribute significantly to the ageing process. Make sure you protect yourself by wearing an SPF sunscreen, preferably factor 30 or above.
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 also damage the elasticity of your skin, causing it to droop and sag.
Getting Enough Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are the foods which possess the highest amount of 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 to your diet.
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.
Want to improve your sleep habits? Check out our 5 top tips for getting to sleep.