Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bedtime botox

In my anti-ageing recipe list I included getting plenty of sleep, something I'm sure most of us wish we had time to get more of but don't necessarily make an effort to get enough.

I remember as a child staying up til 9:30pm was a real treat, now it would be a treat to be in bed by 9:30! The reason children can and should sleep as long as they do is firstly that they are usually way more physically active than we are so they're physically worn out by 8pm, but also because at night is when their growth takes place. Generating new cells takes up a lot of energy which is why it happens when you're asleep and not using up your energy running about. But why's this relevant to slowing ageing?

True I'm not growing anymore (sadly!), but night time is also when the body creates new cells to replace those that are damaged, for example by the free radical damage I talked about yesterday that ages the body. The more free radical damage you're exposed to, the more sleep you need to repair it.

Over time if you don't get enough sleep the deficit between the two starts to show, and it doesn't take that long - just a week of late nights and I visibly age, but equally a couple of good lie ins can reverse the effect.

I appreciate the city lifestyle doesn't make it easy to get to bed early, but just one or two early nights a week can make a big difference, not just to how you look but to how young your body is on the inside. It might seem a bit tragic to be tucked up in bed by 10pm but you don't have to admit to it!

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