Early to Bed, Early to Rise?

Yes, beauty sleep is real. I recently learned more about this topic while researching how to heal my shoulder after a posterior dislocation in December.

Beauty sleep is the sleep you get before midnight. Studies have shown that beauty sleep really does work. Our hormones are tied into the sunlight and so it is not just how long we sleep, but when we sleep that matters. Sleep can impact our ability to heal, learn, homeschool, parent, and so much more.

How does beauty sleep work?

Early sleep leads to a growth hormone release that repairs the body tissues, muscles, and bones, including facial tissues. As we get older our body produces fewer stem cells. Stem cells are one thing needed to repair tissue damage. In my case, it is the muscles and tissues in my shoulder that need healing. For others it could be damage from toxins, illness or other injuries. When we stay up too late the body shifts its attention to creating the energy for staying up late and we can get a cortisol rush that can give us a second wind of energy to stay up late. That cortisol rush taxes the liver and raises our blood sugar by drawing on glycogen stored in the muscles. Many mistake this for being a night person. But depriving us of beauty sleep means our body does not fully repair. It also means we are depleting our adrenals. Eventually, this catches up with us, aging us sooner and leaving us vulnerable to illness and hormone imbalances.

The body makes more collagen when you sleep and that means fewer wrinkles. Skin cells seem to repair faster when we are asleep, because the body orchestrating as many activities as when we are awake. This collagen production usually peaks before 2 AM. Retiring late means we may not reach this stage sleep during this peak time. The body also boosts blood flow to your skin and perspiration while you sleep. When you do not get enough sleep, then the blood flow to the skin is compromised, making skin dull, not bringing as much moisture, nutrients to nourish the skin, and helping the skin cleanse from inside out.

During the first three hours, the growth hormones peak.

During the next two hours, the melatonin release is increased - which works as a skin protecting anti-oxidant.

During the last three hours, is REM sleep, is the time of our deepest healing.

So, getting fewer hours, means we are not getting the deepest benefit. Also, getting to bed earlier means the REM sleep takes place around that 2 AM when the collagen repair is at its peak.

​When babies get this growth hormone release they seem to grow overnight. If a nursing baby is not sleeping well, consider that possibly your diet may be impacting their immature digestive tract. Also consider that life may be too busy or chaotic. Simplifying routines and activities can reduce the over stimulation. Long walks help us to relax stress hormones for you and baby.

Even teens are impacted by this need for sleep as they grow and mature.

What happens when you do not get beauty sleep?

​Not getting enough sleep and not getting beauty sleep can impact how your body releases growth hormones, how your body stores fat, and how your body deals with the stress hormone cortisol, and your body repairing itself. Deep sleep helps our bodies deal with stress hormone cortisol better.

​Growth hormone tends to decrease with age. This is all the more reason to give attention to beauty sleep now! When we get less growth hormone we tend to increase in belly fat and associated diseases. This is in part due to increased cortisol levels which beauty sleep can help guard against. Aging already decreases the growth hormone. Why reduce it more by sleep "habits"? If you are gaining weight or having insulin resistance issues, when and how much you sleep, may be a contributor.

Lack of sleep can impact people's ability to learn, make good decisions, control emotions, and in general, be sociable. So, lack of sleep can impair executive function! Beauty sleep can impact our social and emotional state as well. Calm is a result of being well rested.​

Granted, you may be dealing with a nursing infant, or co-sleeping toddlers. This will pass. Babies and toddlers grow up. I suggest during that time you simplify your activities. Over stimulation can cause little children to have sleep issues. As children grow and sleep better, make a cognizant effort to improve your sleep cycle and this will be more beneficial for your health and theirs, as well.​

While we are younger and growth hormone production higher, we may think this all does not hurt us. We may mistake extra cortisol for energy to stay awake, thinking we are a night person. But as we age into our thirties and beyond the lack of beauty sleep begins to take its toll more and more on our bodies. And this excess cortisol can do a lot of damage to our health.

​Moms, we need our beauty sleep! Not just to look beautiful, but for our ability to learn, our health (now and long term health), our patience with our children, our mental health, and our social interactions with our families. Consider retiring as a family and shifting your project time to early morning. This will take a few weeks to adjust. Or move your project time to afternoon quiet time. Make whatever adjustments you need to for your situation, but consider beauty sleep as a necessity rather than a luxury.

As Titus 2 women, we are to be oikouros. In the King James Bible "oikouros" is translated as "keepers at home." This really does not carry the rich meaning of the word, in our culture today. In Greek Oikouros comes from two words:​

Oikos: meaning home, household, persons living in the household, tabernacle, or body.

Ouros: Guard, warden, or be ware.

So, an Oikourous means guard of the home, household or the body. Being an Oikouros would also be guarding our health and the health of our household or family! How can we care for and guard our homes, our households, if we do not take care of ourselves? Beauty sleep is not about being vain. It is about guarding our health. As we do, we teach our children to do likewise.​

Beauty sleep, get some!

Let's cheer on each other's victories and efforts.​

Enjoy the Journey!

NOTE: This was revised and updated 8 January 2019, originally posted 20 February 2017.

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