Anti-aging Sleep

“Did you sleep well? No, I made a couple mistakes.”   – Stephen Wright

One of the top beauty tips is to get adequate sleep. The bags under the eyes from lack of sleep, definitely unattractive. So, simple message, sleep. Though a simple message it’s not always practical and sometimes it’s just down right difficult to get enough sleep – waking up at odd hours and tossing and turning, or having monkey mind overtake you just as you lie your head on the pillow keeping you up and up and up.

Sleep quantity decreases as we age and seems to coincide with the decrease in the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) secreted in the body.  HGH promotes remineralization of bones, it helps to maintain a healthy immune system and cardiovascular system, and it maintains the pancreatic islets responsible for insulin production and preventing diabetes. And then there’s the weight gain. Seems like with decreased amounts what you end up with is, that’s right, aging!

But HGH isn’t the theme of this post. The lack of sleep is, which can also be caused by a stressful lifestyle. And as we all know, stress is also a cause of damage and aging to the body and skin. Just to add a bit of insult to injury, lack of sleep causes stress, so you get a double whammy – stress and lack of sleep –  that promotes aging.

Lack of sleep is the disease, and sleep is the remedy. There are several websites out there that will provide suggestions for sleep. And I don’t recommend, and this is probably real obvious, the prescription pharmaceutical sleep aids. Think side effects and you don’t get a real sleep out it.

I think one of the best methods to produce a restful sleep is focused breath work. A simple one that works for me – sometimes – is to breathe in for 8 counts, exhale 8 counts. This has multiple benefits. It will relax the mind for a better sleep, reduce stress, and stimulate a strong immune system – all good antiaging benefits. Plus, focused breathing will soothe the central nervous system, which will stop muscle spasms and release muscle tension (neck and back pain),  and breathing will help to balance the autonomic nervous system, easing the “fight or flight” response for better digestion and prevent the release of the belly fat producing cortisol.

Essential oils are very useful in this situation. There are several calming and stress reducing oils in a variety of odors that you can choose from. Check my book, Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils,  for detailed how-to stress reducing and sleep inducing aromatherapy.

Lavender is likely the most popular essential oil for relaxation and insomnia. Simply rub a bit on the chest and back of neck before bed, or place a drop on a tissue to leave nearby your pillow.

Sleep well. Be Happy.