How Sleep Makes You Beautiful, Inside and Out

I have to get my beauty sleep.

It’s something you might say the night before your wedding, a big presentation or another important occasion for which it’s especially important you look and feel your best. Often it’s said jokingly, but there’s truth behind this old adage. Without the seven to nine hours of sleep a night that most of us need, our brain and body are unable to recharge; over time this can even lead to serious health risks.

We all know the visible signs of someone who regularly gets good-quality shut-eye—radiant, firm skin, bright eyes and a healthy weight. But did you know that a restorative sleep schedule can also help you act and react in ways that reflect your inner beauty to the outside world? If you want that glow within to shine through in how you behave and the kind of person you’re seen to be, sleep is key. Here are a few ways good-quality sleep nurtures your most beautiful self:

It helps you connect with others. Tossing and turning at night can leave you irritable, impatient and foggy-headed—side effects of sleep deprivation that make it very tough to show up for the other people in your life. A full night’s sleep, though, gives you the energy to take a phone call from a friend in need, happily cook dinner for your family and maybe even have enough oomph left over to play with your kids. Feeling rested can also help you participate more fully at work and in your community with neighbors.

It helps you show your confidence. Lack of sleep can deflate your motivation to work on a personal goal that requires self-esteem, like getting fit, going out on a date with someone new, or trying for a promotion. When you’re not feeling great, your confidence to do and say what’s meaningful to you can suffer. A well-rested brain produces feel-good chemicals like serotonin that help you function well and present your best self. Simply put, when you feel good, it shows: You’re more likely to stand taller, walk with your head up and exhibit a confidence that may not show when you’re tired.

It helps you take care of yourself.  By finding ways to fix troubled slumber patterns you’re actively choosing to be healthier. Lack of sleep leads to a lack of self-control and hurts your ability to make sound decisions, so getting the restorative rest your brain and body need is essential to being both mindful and well.

It helps you show your kindness. When you’re exhausted, you’re less able to control your reactions and likelier to lose your patience or exhibit a quick temper—especially when faced with a challenge like, say, getting into a fender bender. Being well-rested helps you think clearly and react mindfully, which allows you to take on trying days with a thicker skin. Rather than exploding and arguing with the person who hit your car, maybe you can tell them that it’s okay, that these things happen and you’ll work it out. More and better sleep may make it easier to show that person the kind, understanding side of who you are.

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