In our plugged in, always on society, getting a good night’s sleep has become, well, a dream for many people. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, when most of us need seven to nine hours.
There’s more at risk than just losing beauty sleep—although that’s a real thing—as a dull complexion, dark circles and puffy eyes after just one or two late nights can attest. Lack of sleep results in higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down collagen, and eventually leads to more fine lines and sagging, drier skin.
People who suffer from chronic sleep shortages also run higher risks of stroke, infections, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. Not getting enough sleep impacts your mental health as well. According to sleep.org, “People with insomnia are 10 times as likely to be depressed as people who sleep soundly.”
While you sleep, your body works hard, secreting hormones that grow and repair tissue, restoring energy and cementing your memories from the day.
The best thing you can do to get the most from your sleep is to get on a regular sleep schedule. To figure out the amount of sleep your body needs, sleep without an alarm clock for a week or so until a pattern emerges. Then adjust when you go to bed and when you set your alarm to align with what your body needs.
Your brain activity slows, muscles relax, heartbeat becomes regular and blood pressure decreases as you transition to sleep. This stage typically lasts several minutes. People can be woken easily from this stage. In this stage, sudden muscle contractions are common, and you may suddenly jerk awake from feeling like you’re falling.
In this light, dreamless sleep stage, your body temperature lowers, heart rate slows and eye movement stops. You can still be woken easily and become quickly alert. You spend more time in stage two sleep than in other sleep stages.
Previously known as stages three and four, stage three is a period of deep sleep in which your heartbeat and breathing dip to their slowest levels. It may be difficult to wake you from this stage, and you would likely feel disoriented if you are woken up during this stage. You need this stage of sleep to feel refreshed. This is when your body repairs itself, stimulates growth and development, boosts immune function and builds up energy for the next day. This stage usually starts 35-45 minutes after falling asleep. During the first half of the night, you tend to be in longer periods of stage three sleep than later in the night.
About 90 minutes after falling asleep, you experience your first cycle of REM sleep. Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind your closed eyelids. Your brain wave activity becomes closer to what it’s like when you’re awake. Your breathing and heart rate increase. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep. As you age, you spend less time in REM sleep.
Give your body’s natural healing and rebuilding ability a boost with these products that work while you sleep.
Hands and Feet
To soften hands and feet, rub Vaseline or a thick, rich cream on your hands and feet and slip on some cotton socks and gloves. The cotton holds moisture in and keeps the Vaseline from rubbing off on your sheets.
Swipe RevitaLash Advanced along your lash line nightly for longer, thicker lashes.
Pantene Pro-V Overnight Miracle Repair Serum leaves damaged, stressed, overworked hair shiny and smooth. This weightless leave-in treatment soaks in quickly and strengthens hair while you sleep.
Even skin tone, reduce the look of dark spots and refine skin’s texture with Garnier Clearly Brighter Overnight Leave-On Peel. It’s a gentle yet powerful peel with Glycolic Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA) and Vitamin C.
High-Potency Night-A-Mins by Origins rejuvenates your skin by sloughing off dead skin cells, replenishing moisture and enriching your skin with minerals and Vitamins C, E, and H.
Products to Help You Get Your Zzzs
Sense by Hello
Sense by Hello takes sleep hi-tech by tracking your sleep patterns, emitting ambient sound and waking you up during a light sleep cycle when you’re more ready to wake up. Its sensors help you understand how the environment around you—light, humidity, air quality, sound and temperature—is impacting the quality and quantity of your sleep. The ball-shaped base unit sits on your bedside table and the Sleep Pill, a small disc, attaches to your pillowcase. You operate Sense through a smartphone app and a WiFi connection.
Drift Light by Saffron
This energy-efficient LED bulb works just like your other lights during the day, but after two flips of your switch, it emits a warmer light to promote natural melatonin production. Plus, it gradually dims over about half an hour to prepare your body for sleep.
Bath & Body Works Sleep line includes scrubs, lotions, nourishing oil, body wash and a bath soak. The products feature essential oils in lavender—to promote tranquility—and cedarwood—to calm the mind.
Night Mode Smartphone Settings
Blue light emitted from computer screens, smartphones and e-readers inhibits the natural production of our sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. iPhones and now some android phones include a setting that lets you change the color spectrum of the display from cooler to warmer light at night.
Hypoallergenic Bamboo Pillow
A shredded memory foam filling prevents this bamboo pillow by Xtreme Comforts from falling flat. It lets allergy sufferers breathe easy and micro-venting keeps it cool.