The Truth About Beauty Sleep

Bliss Matthew Bowden

After the weekend, I look five years younger. A total of 20 hours spread over two nights and I am ready for my close-up. Why can't I maintain this through the week?

Let me count the reasons: I was lying awake thinking about what I had to do the next day. Or what I didn't have time to do. Or what I had forgotten I had to do. Or why I had said what I said to my father. Or why my friend had said what she said to me. Or how I should plan my summer holiday. Or what's in the freezer that would work for dinner tomorrow. Mostly, though, it's because I had to wake up at 7:30am. (I know, hardly the crack of dawn, but for a night-owl, pretty early.)

At least I'm not alone: almost one in three Brits report difficulties in falling asleep, mostly due to work and financial stress. And half of them report that lack of sleep makes them more forgetful and older looking. (See? There it is!) One in 10 even reported lack of sleep made them fall over.

So what needs to change? Apparently, we need to spend more time winding down. And that doesn't mean writing this at 10:42pm, 20 or so minutes before I head upstairs to get ready for bed.

Here are a few tips to help with the process:

  • Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours, so cut it off after noon.
  • Turn your computer off one hour before bed.
  • Make a list of everything you want to think about the next day, so you don't have to think about it in bed.
  • Condition yourself for bed by brushing your teeth one hour before bed. (Pavlov would be proud.)
  • If you don't fall asleep in 15 minutes, get out of bed, then go back when you feel sleepy. Repeat until you can fall asleep. (Not sure what to make of this one, since it's always more fun to be out of bed.)
  • Read something mindless. It'll help turn your brain off and make you sleepy.

So please excuse my Vanity Fair and me. Bonsoir!