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A good sleep can make you look younger!

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An hour before midnight is worth three afterwards. That's the age-old adage. But does it have any substance?


Geoff, an expert in chronobiology (the study of the body clock), says: 'There are set times when our body clock dictates that various processes take place in hair and skin.

 

'From 8pm to 11pm is the time for hydration and stimulation, while 11pm to 3am is the time for nutrition and regeneration, and 3am to 5am is the time for resting.'



Seven or eight hours of sleep is ideal for most of us. More than that can mean we wake up looking puffy and feeling sluggish.

 

 

Chronic lack of sleep, or poor-quality sleep, has an incredibly negative effect on the way we feel - and on the way we look.

 

When we are asleep, our cells rebuild and repair themselves (the growth hormone functions only at night). If you don't sleep, this function is impaired.

 

If you sleep badly, you are likely to become stressed, and this can cause the capillaries to tighten up, affecting the flow of nutrients to the skin and scalp and causing the skin and hair to look dull.


Lie on your back

 

 

However well you sleep, you may still wake up with puffy eyes and dark circles if you are sleeping in an awkward position.

 

These problems are caused by constriction of the blood flow to the skin.

 

'If you sleep face-down the blood vessels will become constricted and the circulatory system releases congested fluid from tiny flaps in the walls of these vessels,' says Colette Haydon.

 

 

The older you get, the longer they take to disappear; and you may notice more lines forming permanently on the side of the face you normally sleep on.

 

This is because as we age, our skin loses elasticity and collagen, and doesn't 'bounce back' into shape.

 

The answer is to try to train yourself to sleep on your back. You can also help to prevent fluid accumulation causing puffy eyes by keeping your head raised well above your body in bed. This may be difficult at first - but it's worth it.

 

Not enough oxygen in your bedroom affects blood flow to the skin, causing puffiness. Make sure the room is not too warm - switch off the heating, and open a window.

 

The following may help:

  • Go to bed at a regular time. Set the alarm for the same time each day - even weekends - to develop a regular sleep-wake rhythm.
  • Make sure the bedroom is dark.
  • No coffee, tea or hot chocolate (they contain caffeine) before bed.
  • Try deep breathing, or tensing and relaxing different groups of muscles around the body.
  • Don't exercise immediately before going to bed.
  • Add a few drops of aroma-therapy oils (lavender, neroli or ylang ylang) to your bedtime bath.
  • The right mattress is crucial. Your heels, back of the head and buttocks should sink just below the surface.
  • Your neck, backs of the knees and hollow of the back should rest on the surface. 


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