Whether it is long days at the office or overcommitting to your social life at this festive time of year(or for many of us both of the above), we might have unintentionally pushed sleep to the back of our list of priorities. Lack of sleep can catch up with you and have both long and short term effects on your body.

Surprisingly, a lot happens to your body while you sleep, and natural anti-ageing can be achieved throughout each level of your four sleep stages.

Stage 1: Drowsiness and light sleep.
Stage 2: Your body reduces its activity (lower heart rate and decrease in body temperature) in preparation for you to go into deep sleep.
Stage 3: Your brain waves slow down.
Stage 4: REM Sleep èThe final and deepest stage of sleep.

A good sleeper can experience four to five cycles of all the sleep stages, each with their important effects on the body and mind in terms of staying young. During the REM sleep stage, growth hormone levels peak and initiate cell and tissue repair. This regeneration is the process where fresh, new skin cells replace old, dead skin. Cortisol and insulin production inversely peak during sleeping hours so that collagen production is accelerated and skin becomes firmer. The body also metabolizes free radicals, which accelerate ageing and cancerous growths. During sleep, our facial muscles relax, which allows the dermal layers of our skin to rejuvenate, thus helping to smooth wrinkles and fine lines. Lack of sleep can cause major dysfunctions in the above hormone levels.

Tips to improve your sleep quality:

  • Be consistent with your sleep schedule
  • Prep your body for bedtime by meditation, reading a book, or listening to calm music
  • Make your bedroom a comfortable place just for sleep
  • Keep your bedroom temperature lower than other areas of your home
  • Your last meal of the day should be three hours before you head to bed
  • Avoid having any electronics in your bedroom

The best wrinkle creams won’t do nearly as much as a regular, good quality night’s sleep will. No matter how busy you are, it doesn’t pay to deprive your body of its natural self-renewal and repair processes.