We're as guilty as anyone of skimping on sleep. But it’s time for an (ahem) awakening: our bodies need sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep (ideally seven to nine hours), we look as sluggish as we feel: puffy undereye area, dull-looking skin, and more. Here’s why:
Sleep may seem like wasted time, but it’s actually when the body shifts into repair mode, undoing any damage that occurred during the day (cocktails, UV rays, germs). Our brain is quiet, which means it doesn’t require as much blood flow; those resources are sent to other parts of the body to aid with the production of protein, new cells, collagen, and more. At the same time, our bodies produce high levels of human growth hormone, which helps regenerate tissue and repair muscles.
Naps don't count. Disco naps may perk you up for a late-night party but they’re not going to get you glowy skin and energized muscles. For that, you need deep sleep. It’s during this period of rest, when brain waves are at their widest and slowest, that the body has enough available energy to do its major tune-ups and upgrades.
Can't sleep? If you can't fall asleep (even when you're exhausted), try changing your routine. Skip nighttime gym sessions, which keep your body revved up and instead of watching late-night TV cozy into your bed with a good book. If your mind is racing with everything you have to do the next day, keep a pad of paper by your bed and write down everything that is bothering you. Still tossing and turning?