In a previous issue (“All About Beauty, Sex, and You,” Uplift, July 2018), we wrote about the health benefits of physically connecting with your partner in bed. But what happens in bed while you’re asleep has tremendous health and beauty benefits, too! In fact, getting enough sleep is one of the BEST things you can do to look younger, feel better, and live longer. But how much is enough?
According to the latest research from the National Sleep Foundation, adults 26-64 years need an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Adults 65+ require an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep.  The cells of your brain and body need sleep to repair, rejuvenate, and detoxify, which is why long-term sleep deprivation can contribute to physical disease, mental disorders, and an increase in hormones linked to weight gain. In addition, a lack of sleep can take a serious toll on your appearance.
“Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin surrounding your face,” says board certified sleep specialist, Dr. Michael Breus, PdD.2 Reduced blood flow can dull your complexion, increase dark circles under the eyes, and even contribute to thinning hair. A healthy blood flow is needed for nutrients to reach the hair follicles, and without enough sleep, “hair gets less food, it weakens, and it has difficulty growing,” says Breus. 
There are many things you can do to safely and naturally improve sleep, and we’ll share them in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, try this bedtime beverage recommended by Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist. “Drink a mixture of warm milk, a teaspoon of vanilla (the real stuff, not imitation), and a few drops of stevia.”  According to Dr. Amen, this will increase serotonin in your brain and help you sleep.
National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Time Duration Recommendations: Methodology and Results Summary, Sleep Health Journal, Max Hirshkowitz, PhD., Kaitlyn Whitonn, MHS, Steven M. Albert, PhD., et al.
The Truth About Beauty Sleep, Stephanie Jacob, Web M.D.
The Importance of Getting Good Sleep, Daniel Amen, M.D., AmenClinics.com