From skin health to weight loss, a good night’s sleep supports healthy beauty and wellness. This is especially important after a hard workout.
A study at Case Western Reserve University found that poor sleep quality accelerates intrinsic aging, such as fine lines and uneven skin tone, while also hindering the body’s ability to heal from sun damage.
Improved Skin Health
Getting the beauty sleep you need is one of the best natural ways to ensure a healthy complexion. During sleep, the body expels toxins and eliminates dead skin cells to keep pores clean and clear. Sleep also regulates hormones to reduce breakouts caused by stress or a hormonal imbalance.
When you sleep well, the production of cortisol is reduced and blood flow to your skin improves, promoting collagen production to reduce wrinkles and repair UV damage. Studies published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology show that people who slept seven to nine hours per night had healthier, more moisturized skin and were able to heal faster after exposure to UV rays than those who got five hours of rest. People who are well-rested are also more likely to rate themselves as more attractive than those who slept poorly.
While occasional sleep deprivation is normal, losing a few hours of shuteye multiple times a week can add up and make you look older than you are. It can also lead to a weaker immune system that makes you more susceptible to infection.
Boosted Immune System
Getting enough rest is vital for maintaining healthy immune function, and research shows that sleep can actually strengthen the body’s defense system. Studies have shown that those who get sufficient quality sleep are better protected against viruses and bacteria as well as less susceptible to allergies and other health conditions.
Differentiated immune cells with immediate effector functions like NK cells and terminally differentiated CTL peak during sleep, allowing for quick and efficient combat against intruding antigens. In contrast, undifferentiated immune cells such as naive T cells are enhanced during sleep, supporting the initial formation of adaptive immunity and eventually leading to immunological memory.
Furthermore, sleep appears to specifically enhance the cellular responses promoting the interaction of APCs with T helper cells, such as interleukin-12 (IL-12) production by monocytes and a predominance of Th1 rather than Th2 cytokines during early SWS-rich sleep. At the same time, excessive pro-inflammatory activity is counter-regulated during sleep through concurrently enhancing activity of nTreg cells and reductions in blood lymphocyte counts possibly reflecting redistribution into extravascular compartments or an enhanced margination to the endothelium of postcapillary venules.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
Research has linked sleep to a range of physical and mental health benefits. The quality of your sleep affects everything from how well you think and learn to how quickly your body heals. Insufficient or irregular sleep can increase your risk of chronic (long-term) diseases.
Sleep appears to regulate the immune system, and regular good-quality sleep supports a healthy response to infection and vaccination. Poor-quality sleep increases inflammation and leads to a suppressed immune system, which can leave your body vulnerable to disease.
Despite being an integral part of daily life, scientists have only partially understood the process of sleep. It has been described as a complex state of reduced sensitivity to the environment that combines behavioral, motor, sensory and physiological changes. A few basic criteria distinguish sleep from wakefulness: the characteristic horizontal repose posture, the absence of overt goal-directed behavior and a general reversible or recurrent pattern. Other features include the rapid fluctuations in hormone levels, the relaxation of skeletal muscles and the loss of control of movements.
Improved Mental Health
A good night’s sleep can give you more patience and help you get through life’s stresses. It can also improve your mood and increase feelings of happiness and well-being. In fact, a lack of beauty sleep can leave you feeling depressed, anxious and less likely to interact with others.
Getting enough sleep can help prevent mental health issues like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. It can even help prevent chronic physical illnesses like heart problems and diabetes. It’s not surprising that a chronic illness is often a precursor to a mental health issue, and that the two are interrelated.
While there’s still some debate over exactly why we sleep, the most accepted explanation is that it is a necessary part of our body’s normal functioning. During sleep, the brain releases neurotransmitters that regulate circadian rhythms and other bodily functions. In addition, the reversibility and recurrence of sleep differentiates it from other states such as hibernation or coma.