What your mom used to tell you about getting your beauty sleep may actually be scientifically correct. New research says that getting quality sleep can actually make you more attractive.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, people with obstructive sleep apnea appear more alert, more youthful, and more attractive after two months of sleeping with CPAP (a machine that helps them breathe better when they sleep). Study authors evaluated 20 people with obstructive sleep apnea and studied digital photos of their faces before and after their sleep therapy with CPAP. The "after" photo was identified as more alert 68% of the time, more attractive 67% of the time, and more youthful 64% of the time.
Even for those of us without sleep apnea, getting a good night's rest is important if you want to look fresh-faced, think clearly, and synthesize your thoughts and memories. Hollywood darlings Penelope Cruz, Renee Zellweger, and Catherine Zeta Jones reportedly swear by a solid block of shut eye every night to stay pretty. Here are some tips to maximize your beauty sleep:
1. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your side can put pressure on your face, causing irregular wrinkling and skin creasing. It can also damage small capillaries around your eyes, leading to accentuation of dark circles. After months and years of sleeping with your cheek pressed against a pillow, you develop deep nasolabial creases, furrowed tear troughs, crows feet, and jowling-- worse on the side that is pressed against the pillow. Training yourself to sleep on your back can help avoid this.
Go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time everyday. This will allow your body to establish its normal circadian rhythms and develop a healthy sleep-wake cycle. It can be difficult to get out of the rut of going to bed late on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends, but research shows that it is healthier to treat each day's sleep the same.
Turn off the lights and draw the shades. A dark bedroom helps your body stay synchronized with nighttime rhythms. Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, and other products that contain caffeine for at least four hours before bedtime. Play music that relaxes you, or use aromatherapy to create a soothing atmosphere. Try meditation or deep breathing as you settle into your evening routine, and sleep your way into a more beautiful you.