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Does Sleep Help Your Skin?

As we age, it is evident that the effects of sleep deprivation become more noticeable. Not only fatigue and lack of focus are results of sleep loss. It has been proven that sleep helps restore the skin cells in your face and helps to cure blemishes.

The process of sleep helps to increase the collagen 1 production in the skin, which helps retain water, the key to good skin. 1 The nighttime also offers protection from skin stressors that we may encounter throughout the day such as sunlight, makeup and polluted air that can have many damaging effects on the skin.

As individuals grow older, the skin releases less moisture and the body typically gets less sleep. Because of these circumstances, it may be helpful to employ skin helpers such as moisturizers, humidifiers and retinoids or vitamin K (found in creams that assist in removing dark spots from the skin). 2

In order to let the skin reach its healing potential, it is best to remove all makeup that could clog pores and otherwise disturb electrodermal activity (electrical activity of the skin and eccrine sweat glands 3). This activity helps keep the skin moist and enhance the healing process. A nightly cleaning and moisturizing regimen will make it easier for the skin to do what it needs to do naturally. Make sure to moisturize the skin, especially during the fall and winter as skin tends to dry out during colder months.

It will be helpful to change sleeping positions from the side or stomach to the back in order to avoid putting too much pressure on the face and creating lines and wrinkles. Additionally, using a humidifier can aid in the skin restoration process by helping keep the skin moist.

It is suggested that the best thing to improve skin health is get at least six hours of sleep each night to ensure that you can complete at least five sleep cycles. Because cell-tissue repair is initiated in the Delta stage of sleep (deep sleep), allowing yourself ample time to rest will simultaneously be allowing your body to heal itself. 1 Also, staying hydrated on the inside as well as on the skin is equally important, and therefore, salty foods should be avoided before bed to prevent dehydration or bloating.

So don’t lose sleep over that blemish. Get some beauty sleep and let your body do its job.

Bibliography

1. Los Angeles Times—For Healthy Skin, Get Some Sleep; http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/08/image/ig-beautysleep8

2. WebMD—Getting Better Skin While you Sleep; http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/anti-aging-skin-care-11/sleep-skin

3. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.

Men vs. Women: Battle of the Sleepers

While many might assume that all humans have identical sleeping patterns, men and women have been shown to have different behaviors and reactions in their sleep. Sleep behaviors are very important, especially in observing how your sleep partner and other surroundings affect your sleep. Because of the drastic differences in circadian rhythms, sleep disorder likelihood and uncontrollable sleep behaviors can effect your  and your sleep partner’s overall ability to sleep.

  • Women tend to have significantly more dreams than men.1
  • In elderly individuals, women tend to have more problems related to sleep than men.2
  • Snoring is more common in men than in women. 3
  • Women are two to three times more likely to suffer from insomnia. 2
  • Men are twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea. 2
  • Female smokers tend to experience daytime sleepiness while male smokers are likely to have disturbing dreams. 1
  • The majority of night-eaters are women. 1
  • Men tend to wake up more in the night due to sleep apnea related problems. 3
  • Postmenopausal women have the same rate as men of sleep apnea. 2
  •  On average, women take less time to fall asleep than men. 3
  • During menopause, women are said to lose more sleep (due to hot flashes) that cause irritability and depression. 1
  • Women experience less sleep and more irritability, confusion and depression during the premenstrual stage of the cycle. 1
  • Men often dream about unfamiliar places and people and find themselves outside while women tend to dream of familiar indoor settings, such as their home, dormitory or work, involving familiar people. 4
  • Dreams with aggression are almost equally frequent in males and females. 4
  • Sleep complaints are more common in women. 4
  • Women tend to sleep more on average, but have less deep sleep making them more prone to sleep disorders and nightly disturbances such as a restless sleep partner. 1
  • Women are inclined to fall asleep quicker and wake up earlier as compared to men. 5

Male and female sleep cycles and behaviors are very different, and, when matched with the problems of a sleep partner, can be enhanced. Sleep disorders and simple differences in optimal sleep length can cause sleep partners to have to alter schedules and learn to cope with disruptions brought on by another’s sleep behavioral differences.

Bibliography:

1. Maas, Dr. James B., Megan L. Wherry, David J Axelrod, Barbara R. Hogan, and Jennifer A. Blumin. Power Sleep: The Revolutionary Program That Prepares Your Mind for Peak Performance. New York : Villard, 1998. 174-175

2. WebMD—Men and Women Sleep Differences; http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/men-and-women-sleep-differences

3. Wall Street Journal—A Sleep Battle of the Sexes; http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904279004576524321377942288.html

4. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.

5. Psychology Today— Michael J. Breus, Ph.D.; http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201202/men-and-women-different-when-it-comes-sleep

Fighting Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder associated with joint and body pain and tenderness as well as nonrestorative sleep. 1 Fibromyalgia is not technically a sleep disorder, but is characterized by affected individuals’ extreme difficulty with insomnia and problems waking up. Those with fibromyalgia report being woken up by pain and sleep deprivation making their pain worse. Also, those affected tend to feel exhausted from day to day due to waking up throughout the night. While the cause and prevention methods for fibromyalgia are still relatively unknown, treatment is possible and can be successful in controlling fibromyalgia-related pain and complications.

The most disturbing aspect of fibromyalgia is the nonrestorative sleep that results in a nearly constant feeling of exhaustion. 1 Fatigue is brought on because the body and mind rarely have the ability to heal as they would during deep sleep. This exhaustion can lead to severe depression and inability to do simply daily tasks.

Treatment

The best way to combat fibromyalgia is through improving quality of sleep. Sleep recommendations for those suffering from fibromyalgia are similar to those for insomnia. They include things like making the bedroom conducive to rest and avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the afternoon. It is also recommended to keep the bedroom cool at night as hotter temperatures tend to interrupt the sleep cycle. 2 Developing a sleep routine is the best way to insure better and longer sleep. Additionally, regular activity and exercise helps to relax the body when bedtime comes. Exercises proven to help with join problems are low intensity such as walking and underwater aerobics. 3 It has also been recommended that those with fibromyalgia buy a latex or memory foam mattress in order to reduce pressure points causing tossing and turning and joint pain. Additionally, mattresses and pillows that tend to release heat will help with continuous sleep throughout the night.

It is also recommended that individuals with fibromyalgia keep a sleep diary based on what actions they take to fall asleep, how often they wake up and overall tiredness during the day. It may also be helpful to become a part of a support group where they can share success and effective treatments in a positive environment. 2

There are certain medication prescribed to help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia; however, many are not entirely successful on their own. Muscle relaxants and pain killers have been used to combat joint pain. Antidepressants have also been used to improve sleep quality and overall mood. Overall, fibromyalgia weighs heavily on the sleeper whom it affects and can cause major disruptions in his or her life; however, with an effective combination of treatments, the individual can achieve optimal sleep.

Bibliography

1. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.

2. National Sleep Foundation—Pain and Sleep: What is Fibromyalgia? http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/fibromyalgia-and-sleep

3. WebMD—Fibromyalgia and Sleep; http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/ss/slideshow-fibro-coping-tips