Aging may be inevitable but how quickly it happens and how it affects you can be influenced by your lifestyle, including how much you sleep. The quality of your sleep change as you age, but that doesn’t mean you need any less of it. You can fight aging by making sure you’re getting a full seven to nine hours every night, and we’ve got some tips to help.
Healthy Sleep = Healthy Skin
All of your body’s organs need sleep to heal and restore themselves, but your skin visibly shows the effects of sleep deprivation. A study conducted in 2014 found that lack of sleep increased the intrinsic signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven pigmentation. The same study concluded that inadequate or poor sleep slowed down the skin’s ability to heal from UV damage.
Repair and Pain Perception
Age isn’t just about your appearance. It’s in how you feel too. The majority of muscle repair takes place during the deep sleep stages. Deep sleep is when the body releases human growth hormone, which floods the muscles and encourages the repair of damage. If you cut your sleep time short or alter the timing of your sleep cycle by going to bed too late, the body releases less human growth hormone. Consequently, your muscles don’t spend enough time healing and rebuilding.
Lack of sleep also increases your perception of pain. Sleep might not make pain issues disappear, but it can reduce how much pain you feel and your ability to function with it.
Strong Mental Health
Lack of sleep impacts your emotional well-being too. Without enough sleep, the area of the brain that processes emotions becomes more active while the logic and reasoning portion of the brain decreases activity. These changes lead to irritability, sadness, aggression, and anxiety that often accompany sleep deprivation.
The Habits to Help You Sleep Better
Age may bring sleep challenges. Dimming eyesight can affect how much light your eyes absorb, which can throw off your circadian rhythms. Less time spent in REM sleep can affect how rested you actually feel. Then, of course, there are the growing difficulties of getting comfortable. However, small changes in your behavior and sleep environment can make a big difference in your sleep success.
Get Comfortable: Don’t assume that you because of your age that morning stiffness and soreness are unavoidable. The right mattress could make a big difference. Look for a model that’s designed for your preferred sleep position either stomach, back, or side. Also, look for a mattress with good edge support to make it easier to get into and out of bed.
Establish a Sleep Schedule: Bring consistency to your sleep schedule. It will help your brain recognize and predict your behavior, which solidifies and strengthens the release of sleep hormones.
Predictable Routines: We’re talking about predictable meal times and a bedtime routine. Your body, in part, uses the timing of your meals to help set your circadian rhythms. Try to eat at roughly the same time every day and keep your evening meal light and early. Use a relaxing bedtime routine to reduce stress and give your brain an early signal that it’s time for sleep.
Time in Nature: Go outside. Natural light helps set your circadian rhythms, which control the timing of your sleep cycle. Time outside has also been shown to reduce activity in the part of the brain where depressive thoughts take place.
You can’t stop aging, but you can reduce the effects of aging and enhance your health with deep, restorative sleep. It takes effort to get the rest you need as you age. However, developing good sleep habits will keep you on course for better long-term health.
This guest post was graciously provided by Nisha Miller. Nisha is the Lifestyle Editor of FamilyLivingToday.com, a free resource for families, providing everything from in-depth product reviews to expert advice.