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 other important occasion when it’s especially important to 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, your brain and body are unable to recharge; over time this can even lead to serious health risks.

We all know the common 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 reveal your inner beauty to the outside world? It shows itself in how you behave and the kind of person you’re seen to be. Consider these 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 perform well professionally, take a call from a friend in need, and still have enough oomph left to play with the kids. Feeling rested can also help you participate more fully in your community and 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, meeting new people, or asking 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 body-language confidence that fades 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. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with problems such as depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, moodiness, and impaired immunity. It also 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—even small challenges can be a trigger. Being well-rested helps you think clearly and react mindfully, which allows you to take on trying days with a thicker skin. Rather than arguing with someone after a small fender bender, maybe you can be the one to say that it’s okay, that these things happen, and you’ll work it out. More and better sleep may make it easier to keep your kind, understanding side in play as you move through the world.

More: 5 Important Facts About Sleep
Bank a Better Night of Sleep
6 Sleep Strategies You Haven’t Tried
Considering Sleep Aids

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