Can Getting More Sleep Help Slowdown the Aging Process?

There are so many products available these days that are meant to help us look less tired. But I'm pretty sure a little extra sleep would do the trick and save us a bunch of money on products, not to mention help us lead healthier, happier, and more beautiful lives. But sleep is hard to come by these days. With jobs and kids and anxiety and insomnia, sleep is not always easy to achieve.

If you're anything like me, filling nearly every waking second with something, napping feels like laziness, which I know can't possibly be true considering the brilliant Margaret Thatcher & Leonardo Da Vinci were famous nappers, just to name a few. But it's difficult for me to get on board with that theory because I barely want to shut my eyes when it's the middle of the night let alone the middle of the day. How will I ever fit a nap in?

But if I'm not getting in a full 6-9 hours of beauty rest at night (which I most certainly am NOT) when will I make up that lost time? When will my body have a chance to repair itself and what are all these lack of sleep days doing to me in the looks department?

sleep and beauty, benefits of nappingsleep and beauty, benefits of napping

Scientists at the National Sleep Foundation say "naps are a must-try modern-day solution to our perpetual sleep shortage and offer a great energy-rejuvenation break"… but what about for my skin? We all know we need sleep to function properly, but will it make me look better if I get more of it? They went on to say that "Our cells grow and repair while we sleep and our immune system is strengthened by sleep which helps slow the aging process." DING! DING! DING! That's what I've been looking for, the study that shows how sleep counteracts aging. Didn't I hear once that Sharon Stone took 10-20 minute nap breaks throughout her days? I think it's working for her.

Related: 5 ways to look well-rested when you haven't slept

If I recall, I do find that I'm happier with my reflection on days where I've gotten plenty of rest. And since it never feels like I'm getting more done on less sleep, I'm beginning to prioritize sleeping and napping much higher on my to-do list. So I thought I'd look for some real answers to kickstart my better sleeping habits by tricking myself into thinking it's going to slow down the aging process somehow (or even just reverse what the ten years of smoking cigarettes will eventually do to my complexion), because it's easier to begin a new habit under the guise of vanity than health, don't you think? I mean working out is not fun. If we didn't think it was going to make us look better, would we do it just to feel better?

So I began to search… and found some excerpts from a handful of articles and books with studies showing key beauty and anti-aging benefits from sleeping and napping and I've outlined them below:

"Your skin, and your whole body, goes into repair mode when you sleep," says Doris J Day, author of "Forget the Facelift." While you sleep, your skin renews itself. New skin cells grow and replace older cells. "It's repairing and restoring and rebalancing"

She offers 5 tips to getting better ZZZ's:
1. Start a positive bedtime ritual. "Visualize beautiful, healthy skin as you fall asleep and your body will go in that direction," Day says.
2. Get into a sleep habit. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. "That rhythm is good for your skin," Day says.
3. Become a back sleeper. Stomach sleeping presses your face into the pillow, creating a meshwork of fine lines and creases when you wake up.
4. Put a soft cover on your pillow. A pillowcase with a high thread count is kinder to your skin. {I tried the silk ones they say help with wrinkles and lines, but all they did was make my skin oily and break out!}
5. Go white for your sheets. Dyes on your sheets and pillowcase can irritate sensitive skin.
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"Sleep is the best beauty treatment you can give yourself. It reduces stress and inflammation, which are thought to contribute to our body's aging process," according to Kim Johnson Gross, author of "What to Wear for the Rest of Your Life"
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"Sleep more hours. Sleeping fewer than eight hours a night doesn't just leave you feeling tired; it packs on pounds and ups your risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. How? Lack of sleep boosts levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which triggers snack attacks by upping appetite. Lack of sleep also suppresses the hormone leptin, which makes you feel full. Studies have found that people who routinely cut back on sleep are more likely to be overweight and have other resulting health problems than those who get seven to eight hours of sleep a night."

5 Secrets to Slowing Aging by Melanie Haiken, Caring.com
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"Sleeping Positions. Resting your face on the pillow in the same way every night for years on end also leads to wrinkles. Called sleep lines, these wrinkles eventually become etched on the surface of the skin and no longer disappear when the head is not resting on the pillow. Women, who tend to sleep on their sides, are most likely to see these lines appear on their chin and cheeks. Men tend to notice these lines on the forehead since they usually sleep with the face pressed face down on the pillow. People who sleep on their backs do not develop these wrinkles since their skin does not lie crumpled against the pillow."

Causes of Aging Skin via AgingSkinNet
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"Get nine hours of sleep each night, if possible; eight hours won't do it, says Kendall-Reed. When our bodies are in the repair mode of deep, restful sleep, we produce growth hormone. People who have trouble sleeping often have lower levels of growth hormone. As well, lack of sleep is a stressor."

10 ways to slow the aging process via Canadian Living
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"Regularly catching only a few hours of sleep can hinder metabolism and hormone production in a way that is similar to the effects of aging and the early stages of diabetes."

Too Little Sleep May Accelerate Aging in a study in The Lancet October 23, 1999
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"Now scientists have discovered that an hour-long power nap can be as beneficial as a whole night's sleep!

But napping only works when it includes two kinds of sleep - slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, according to the psychologists at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Nappers who never entered REM sleep showed no improvement."

An hour's nap = a night's sleep via DailyMail
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"Naps can be one of the most powerful tools for self-improvement; they can increase not only our health and well-being but our intelligence and productivity as well.

When you sleep, you release growth hormone, the antidote to cortisol which which boosts your immune system, primes your sexual function, reduces stress and anxiety, and aids in muscle repair and weight loss. Napping gives your brain a chance to rest and your body a chance to heal."

Unleash the Power of the Nap by Brett and Kate McKay via The Art of Manliness
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"You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,"

The Secret (and Surprising) Power of Naps by Jennifer Soong via WebMD
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"Keep in mind that your muscles grow and heal while you are asleep, not when you are awaken.

Sleeping at least 6 hours per day will do wonders in your life."

How To Slow Down the Aging Process by Kodjo Hounnake via HowToLearn.com
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"During our wakeful hours, we are constantly damaging our body and breaking it down. During sleep healing and repair takes place. Getting the balance between the two right is essential. If we get insufficient sleep then the rate at which we break the body down exceeds the rate at which we can heal and repair and our overall health gradually ratchets downhill. The average sleep requirement is for nine hours sleep between 9.30pm and 6.30am, a little more in the winter, less in the summer, with of course a certain amount of individual variability."

Anti-ageing - Slow the Ageing Process by Doctor Myhill

-By Maegan Tintari
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