FOURTH QUARTER 2003, VOLUME 17, NO 4

Sleep helps fight the aging process

IN THIS ISSUE

Sleep helps fight the aging process

The many faces of a facelift… Which one is right for you

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Safety first: What you can do to mazimize your safety

Are you getting enough rest for your body to rejuvenate, heal, and replenish? The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night in order for the body to perform neurological, physiological, and biochemical maintenance tasks. In a recent poll by the NSF, 39 percent of American adults claimed to get less than seven hours of sleep each weeknight. The study also found that 74 percent experienced difficulty sleeping a few nights a week or more. How does this sleep deprivation affect your health and your appearance?

Benefits of Sleep

When your body gets enough rest, you wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to go. Your body has renewed energy to get through another day. It has also had time to fight infection and replace old cells in organs and muscles. James B. Maas, Ph.D., a pioneer of sleep research at Cornell University states in his book Power Sleep (Quill, 1999), The process of sleep, if given adequate time and the proper environment, provides tremendous power. It restores, rejuvenates, and energizes the body and brain[it] has profound effects in terms of alertness, energy, mood, body weight, perception, memory, thinking, reaction time, productivity, performance, communication skills, creativity, safety, and good health. Getting enough rest directly affects the quality of your life.

Fighting Aging

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Collagen and elastin, two protein fibers, give the skin its elasticity and help keep it hydrated. As the skin ages, the fibers become less efficient and are replaced at a slower rate. It is impossible to stop the aging process, however, sleep plays an important role in preventing premature aging of these fibers.

During the deepest stage of sleep, your body releases growth hormones for cell repair. If your sleep is frequently interrupted or of short duration, your body has less time to repair and replenish itself. Without this regenerative effect, your skin’s texture, thickness, and elasticity are diminished. Adequate rest, along with a healthy lifestyle, can help your skin rejuvenate and glow on a daily basis.

Tips and tricks to sleeping better

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and food close to bedtime.
  • Exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Create a dark, quiet, comfortable environment conducive to sleep.

Tips and tricks to caring for your skin

  • Wash your face with a mild soap before going to bed, pat dry.
  • Apply a moisturizer to promote hydration.
  • Reduce morning puffiness by sleeping on your back.