What do Hollywood beauty experts have to say on the subject of beauty sleep?
Here’s some sage advice, from beginning to end, from one who knows the increasing importance of getting your beauty sleep, especially in midlife. She aptly contrasts how we can party hardy in our 20s, but lose one or two night’s sleep in midlife, and look like you have aged many, many years. This girl (and I say that with all due respect) knows what she’s talking about. LISTEN UP, MIDLIFE LADIES!
International Best Seller Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” ended up in a debate on Good Morning America with a guest doctor who strongly disagreed with several of his views in his new book “The 4-Hour Body.”
Mr. Ferris follows some recent discussions about being able to sleep less (or barely at all, in his case) in order to get more done and do more of the things one truly enjoys. While these are worthy goals, there are few, if any, human beings who could get by on the amount of sleep or the patterns of sleep he recommends. The Sleep Diva wants to know: Aren’t we all doing enough, Tim, and in many cases, way too much that we need to rob the restorative, refreshing, memory-consolidating aspects of a good night’s sleep so we can do more?
Click below to hear the audio excerpt from Good Morning America debating Ferriss’s radical statement on sleep:
Sleep INTERRUPTED…Good Morning America Debate
Mr. Ferriss contends that humans only need 2 hours of sleep per day if they time it just right, taking 20 minute naps six times throughout the day. This is not a new theory, but is referred to as “polyphasic sleep.” First defined by 20th-century psychologist J.S. Szymanski, a polyphasic sleep cycle is defined by sleeping multiple times in a 24 hour period.
Also referred to as “Uberman’s sleep schedule,” it is practiced by those who want to experiment with ultra-short napping to achieve more time awake each day. (Developing A Polyphasic Sleep Cycle)
At its best, the planned napping of polyphasic sleep differs quite a bit from random fits and starts of sleep for a person with insomnia, but there is a lot of argument that the reality of this type of interrupted sleep can be quite detrimental. In the article “Why You Don’t Want to Wake Up – Interrupted Sleep Interrupts Memory” in Psychology Today, the author references a study at Stanford as evidence for sleeping in uninterrupted blocks as much as possible.
The Stanford research team under Craig Heller and Luis Licea studied the affects of waking up mice more than usual to see what implications this could suggest for humans in similar conditions. This excerpt from the article summarizes their results:
Interrupt human sleep and you can’t get enough deep sleep and REM sleep. The beauty of the present study from Craig Heller’s lab was that the mice, generally interrupted at 60-120 second intervals, looked okay, had normal and unchanged sleep indices, showed no increases in steroid stress hormone levels, and behaved pretty much the same – except that their memory function was considerably diminished. All it took was decreasing the intervals between arousals about 30-40% above normal.
The answer: You mess up their memory and learning with relatively few 10 second stimulations – even though the rest of their sleep remains “normal.”
The implication: wake people up enough times and you mess up their physiology, even if they can’t recall the awakenings and objectively sleep as much as any normal sleeper.
The clinical bottom line: keep people sleeping without arousals as much as you can to improve overall health and function.
…Michael Bonnet of the Wright State School of Medicine is one of many who studied what very brief arousals can do to human sleep.
The results he got were not pretty. Wake up “perfect” young sleepers for three seconds at a time often enough, and they felt like they were up all night – even if they slept 95% or more of the night.
In the interview, Tim seems to understand that this approach is not for everybody, but rather for a select few who can dedicate themselves to following a different sleep pattern.
While there might be occasions for getting less sleep than normal without consequence, the Sleep Diva, along with Dr. Boyle, cannot recommend this as a useful sleep pattern. Aside from the changes in memory consolidation to think of, the hormone cascade which sets the body back to normal is not something we have success with disrupting. The consequences of messing with estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid and cortisol, to name just a few, would not be worth the gains in extra time. Aren’t we all doing enough already, Tim, and who has time to arrange six 20 minute naps a day? That sounds like a full time job in itself.
Many top models and actresses, the very people the media declares are the most beautiful people in the world, know an amazingly simple secret about the key to lasting beauty: something commonly referred to as “BEAUTY SLEEP.”
Unfortunately, it is far too uncommon that women are getting the truly restorative sleep that is required to create the beneficial results possible with proper sleep.
According to an article by Dr. Matthew Edlund in Psychology Today, even Gwyneth Paltrow says that she “looks like a train wreck” if she misses even one night of proper sleep. He adds the reasons why “sleep helps you look good” in the following excerpt (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-rest/201110/sleep-and-beauty) :
1. You grow a lot of skin in sleep. Some studies argue perhaps the skin spurt in sleep in 30 times what it is during some parts of the day. Lots of new, healthy skin appears while you slumber. 2. Growth hormone literally reshapes much of our continuously regrowing bodies. Growth hormone receives its greatest production during slow wave sleep. Though slow wave sleep decreases with age, it can increase with properly timed physical activity and hot baths right before you sleep. 3. Better learning – for all the many parts of your body. A great deal of learning is unconscious – by muscle, ligament, sinew, as well as brain cells – and occurs during sleep. Cut out the process and you simply don’t learn properly – whether it’s learning dance steps, remaking your ankles, or remembering and using mathematical formulas. Proper sleep makes you more balanced, more fit, more coordinated. It’s not surprising professional sports teams are adding sleep docs to their rosters in order to improve athletic performance. The rest of us will just regenerate better with adequate rest. 4. You’ll look a lot less tired. One German study which looked at sleepless versus non-sleepy people revealed faces became far less attractive following a night without shut-eye. And the photographs were made during daylight hours they would otherwise look good – not the pale faces of waking mornings. Even the normal, standard partial sleep deprivation of everyday American life does nothing for our appearance – or our waistline. By shucking sleep to work, tend children, play games and text during the night, we end up looking more tired, more exhausted – more unattractive.
Here’s the deal:
There’s no doubt that Dr. Edlund has something useful to say here to all of us who want to look our best, but the words of Gwyneth Paltrow speak to the true heart of the matter. You’ve heard it said that “beauty is only skin deep”? Well even the lovely Ms. Paltrow, who has access to the top makeup and cosmetics in the world, knows the source of her looks as a well-rested night and is honest enough to admit that. Cheers for her!! And let’s all consider her sage beauty advice – great sleep, most every night, is the core of really looking good. You, too, can have this for yourself. Challenge yourself to get your best possible sleep, and if you get stuck somewhere, call the Sleep Diva.