A good night’s sleep does wonders for your body and mind. In fact, it’s so powerful that just a couple more hours could relieve you of any stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.
Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood woman famed for giving rather questionable advice, has penned an article for the Daily Mail on the precise benefits of getting your full eight hours.
“The lifestyle I lead is based not just on clean eating, but also on clean sleeping: at least seven or eight hours of good, quality sleep. Sleep plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority – even before you think about your diet,” the actress writes.
She may have a point. It’s clinically proven that poor quality sleep can have a negative effect on every aspect of your life, causing things such as weight gain and bad moods along with more serious problems such as a less effective immune system.
According to nutritional scientist Dr Laura Lefkowitz, nine hours is the magic number. She stresses the importance of sleep, saying that it allows your body to detox and repair itself.
Sleep is also needed for a more youthful appearance. Tiredness can cause stress which in turn stimulates cortisol and insulin – the hormones that trigger your body to store fat.
A lack of sleep can be responsible for feeling hungry and therefore overeating by causing a drop in the levels of leptin, the main appetite suppressant.
With all of these health benefits, what if you’re someone who has trouble sleeping or simply doesn’t have the time for a full nine hours? Dr Lefkowitz advises a number of ways to ensure everyone can get in on the clean sleeping hype.
Firstly, she recommends trying psychic sleep (professionally known as yoga nidra). This form of meditation is believed to give all the benefits of sleep while being awake. Simply lie down, close your eyes and try to focus on individual parts of your body, thinking of them in a circular motion going from one hand up the arm to your face, then back down the other arm and across your torso, ending up travelling down one leg and then the other.
Another tip is to avoid eating late at night as this disturbs your digestive system and stops it from working as effectively as it should. Ideally, you should have a 12 hour gap from eating over the night. If you do have to eat, the number one rule is to avoid sugar.
You can also invest in a metal-infused pillow. Studies have demonstrated that pillowcases using fine strands of copper oxide can help prevent, and even reduce, wrinkles.
If clean eating isn’t working for you, why not take Gwyneth’s advice and try clean sleeping for 2017? “Call it vanity, call it health, but I know there’s a huge correlation between how I feel and what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning.”