Sleep is…the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.
~ Thomas Dekker
One of the best ways to keep you beautiful inside and out is to get enough sleep. It should be easy to get enough rest as our bodies are wired for downtime, but it seems too many of us are busy answering wake-up calls. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that 20 percent of Americans are suffering from sleep deprivation and 60 percent get less than six hours of shut-eye per night.
If we could come up with a fun activity that would include a couple of extra hours of sleep, we’d be all over it, but who wants to get together with girlfriends to have a nap? Since sawing logs with your girlfriends is a complete yawner, we will take a different approach to getting the most out of your slumber so that when you are with your girlfriends, you will have the mental and physical energy to be your best.
Gather your girlfriends together with blankets, pillows and PJs for an eye-opening discussion about sleep. Do you get enough? What keeps you awake? Do you fall asleep quickly but wake up in the middle of night or do you find yourself going through your to-do list several times before the sandman arrives? The older we get, the more trouble we have falling asleep and staying asleep. In fact, between 30 and 50 percent of adults have trouble falling asleep and women are twice as likely as men to suffer from insomnia.
To stay beautiful, inside and out, consider that getting enough sleep:
- Keeps you physically fit. Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity. It has been reported that people who are deprived of sleep are 27 percent more likely to become overweight or obese. Plus, being fit and working out during the day makes it easier to sleep.
- Prevents wrinkles. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror when you didn’t get enough sleep? Your face can look like an L.A. road map during a lunar eclipse. No amount of make-up can cover dark circles, the telltale signs of a sleepless night.
- Keeps your mind sharp. Not only does a good night sleep keep your mind fully alert but it will also keep the creative juices flowing. The first step in thinking of new ideas is having a good night’s sleep.
- Keeps you in a positive, upbeat mood. Chase away sluggishness and depressed feelings with a good sleep. Your family and friends will notice the difference.
After each girlfriend has had a turn revealing her own nocturnal nemesis, discuss your collective experiences in the behaviors that invite sleep and those that make it only a dream.
- R=Relax. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Imagine a soft wave of relaxation moving along your body, starting with your forehead, and then moving to your eyes, mouth and jaw. Continue by relaxing your neck and shoulders, moving down to each of your arms, including your wrists and each finger. Finish by moving down each leg to your ankles and toes. You should now feel heavy and fully relaxed.
- E=Establish a routine. Go to bed the same time every night and get out of bed roughly the same time every morning. It is important to be consistent, even on the weekends.
- S=Stop eating after dinner. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and excessive alcohol too close to bedtime. Everyone has different levels of tolerance, so find the right balance that works for you. Refrain from eating anything at least two hours before going to bed.
- T=Turn off technology. Not only is it important to turn off the computer well ahead of bedtime, but refrain from watching action programs that can stimulate your mind. Hide or cover up the neon glow from technology in the bedroom to prevent the light from penetrating your eyelids. Even if they are tiny, those little lights can still keep you from sleep.
With the best advice and encouragement from your friends, you’ll be sleeping like the beauty you are.