Sleep is as essential to beauty as diet. It is perhaps nature’s most powerful beauty treatment. When you sleep, your body is able to repair, rejuvenate, and balance itself on a cellular level. Sleep is essential for regulating metabolism, detoxifying, repairing muscle, and hormone balance. Specific regenerative hormones are released while you sleep that are not released when you are awake.
Without proper sleep, hormones become imbalanced, cells build up toxic waste, the immune system becomes sluggish, and you get foggy-brained and grumpy as cellular damage begins to occur. You will tend to feel hungry. And also you are more likely to reach for bad carbs, refined sugar, and fried or processed foods.
Conversely, with proper sleep, hormones flourish, energy and productivity increase, your body heals and activates many of its beautifying functions. Also, the mental fog clears, allowing you to make great lifestyle choices and setting the stage for youthful longevity and balanced emotional states.
Although everybody’s sleep needs are different (depending on age, lifestyle, overall health, and other factors). For hormone balance, it is imperative to get the necessary amount of uninterrupted sleep your body requires. Unfortunately, more than a third of American adults do not get nearly enough sleep.
And when they do sleep, they often do not get truly nourishing rest. They have trouble falling asleep—so many of their sleep hours are spent tossing and turning or staring at a screen to try to “turn off” their minds.
As a gardener, I watch the cycles of growth, development, and rejuvenation with each season, and they remind me strongly of our sleep–wake cycle. In the spring, every cell in plants is actively building, blooming, and preparing to produce fruit. This is like the morning before we wake, when the body is building hormones to take on the day.
In the summer, after plants have prepared to produce fruit by building their cellular structure, they set and ripen their fruit, just like the peak of our activity during the day as we use up energy to accomplish our goals. In the fall, harvest occurs, and preparation begins for resting and repopulating the soil. This is like the evening meal we enjoy before sleep.
In the winter, I “put the garden to bed” by cutting all the dead stuff off the plants, cleaning up the debris, and protecting anything that might need support through the cold winter months. Just like I need to put my garden to bed for the winter for rejuvenation and protection, the body needs to be put to sleep at night.
While sleeping, the body goes to work repairing tissues, manufacturing proteins, growing muscles, secreting hormones, and healing damaged cells. Sleep also allows the body to perform important cleanup (metabolic) processes that remove waste from its cells.