We need sleep. It’s no secret. You’ve been told since you were a youngster that sleep is good for you, and it gives you the energy and motivation you need to get from one end of the day to the other. Did you know, however, that sleep has been proven to provide even greater benefits than many of us have ever been made aware?
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) recently revealed the results of a recent study, uncovering some little known, yet astounding effects of sleep (or the lack thereof). Among the most notable is one’s ability to fight off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia just by snagging more zzzz’s.
How’s it possible? According to the results, sleep has been shown to have a “mopping-up” effect on our brains. When we give into it each night, it goes to work cleaning up the proteins known to cause these debilitating diseases. It’s a detoxification process in the purest form.
And that’s not all. Sleep has also been shown to increase skin cell catabolism, wherein the breakdown of complex cells into simpler ones causes the release of energy, therein increasing the health and appearance of the skin. If that’s not enough, your hormones also use the sleep process as their time for fine tuning, and that’s not something anyone wants to short-change.
So, how can you ensure you’re getting the most from your time between the sheets? With these three tips:
- The darker, the better. Even the littlest bit of light affects your sleep. From iPads and computers, even down to the numbers on your digital clock, lights are all around us. Light, however, affects melatonin, and that is the chemical that promotes sleep. Even if you get up in the middle of the night for a drink from the fridge, the light that pops on inside is reducing your levels. Instead, simply keep a glass of water by the bed and eliminate any possible light sources before turning in.
- Keep it cool. So many of us are concerned about electricity and conservation, we don’t keep our bedrooms as cool as they need to be, year-round. A cool room fosters good sleep and, while it may seem a bit chilly to some, experts say that under 70 degrees is the optimum temp for sleeping. So, bundle up if you need to, but get that thermostat turned down and prepare for some better sleep tonight.
- Calm down. Calming yourself is imperative to achieving restful sleep. Need some help? Blue walls are proven to have a quieting effect that can reduce blood pressure. Purple, on the other hand, can stimulate the brain and keep you from sleeping; so it’s best to keep this in mind when choosing paint, linens, and artwork. Additionally, night time noise can raise blood pressure even when you aren’t aware of it. Sound machines can help with this and are conveniently accessed through apps on your smartphone. Not a fan? White noise works, too. It’s as simple as keeping a fan blowing.
Jackie Silver is Aging Backwards and she shares her secrets, tips and shortcuts in her books, on her website, AgingBackwards.com, on TV and radio, in print and in person. She’s in her 50s and still gets asked for ID to buy wine! Silver is a contributor to and featured expert on numerous lifestyle websites, and is sought-after as an anti-aging and beauty expert by the media.