We all know that poor sleep can make us look older. What’s more, the natural aging process contributes to more prominent dark circles, wrinkles, fine lines and that ashen tone to our skin. However, the ultimate secret to looking great and maintaining a youthful glint in our eyes is simply getting a good night’s sleep, says Sleep Doctor Michael Breus PhD.
Here are his five tips to keeping that beauty rest real:
Pick one sleep schedule and stick to it
Sleep is made up of two distinct systems, one is a drive (like hunger) that grows throughout the day, the other is your biological clock also known as the circadian rhythm, which tells your brain when to go to sleep and when to wake up. The more consistent you are with your bedtime and wake up time, the better. An easy way to determine a good bedtime schedule is to establish your wake-up time and count backwards by seven and a half hours. Be sure to keep this schedule on both weekdays and weekends, to strengthen your internal biological clock.
Stop caffeine by 2:00 pm
It takes approximately seven to 10 hours for your body to process one half of the caffeine consumed. If you stop drinking caffeine by 2:00 pm, you will give your body enough time to eliminate half of the caffeine in your system to increase your chances of a great night’s sleep and to wake up feeling fresh.
Stop alcohol three hours before lights out
It takes the human body about one hour to metabolize the alcohol present in one alcoholic beverage. Even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it will also stop you from falling into the deep physically restorative stage of sleep that is essential for repair. We recommend you stop drinking a minimum of three hours before you head to bed in order to avoid the “hangover” feeling the next day.
Exercise daily, but stop about four hours before bed
Exercise is the single easiest way to improve sleep quality. However, exercise releases chemicals in the body and brain including adrenaline, making it harder to fall asleep. Plan to finish your gym session at least four hours before you head to bed.
Give the sun a high-five
Get outside for 15 minutes every morning. Melatonin (the sleep hormone) does not like natural light. If you experience “morning fog” or have difficulty waking up, it may be because the gland that produces melatonin in your brain is still working! A 15-minute dose of sunlight is one of the best ways to kick-start your day.
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