Sleep Better, Feel Better, Look Better


If we want to feel better and look better, we need to give our body and brain adequate and quality rest.


Many of us are chronically sleep-deprived. We tend to cut back on sleep to meet the ever-increasing demands on our time. But have you thought about the consequences of cutting back your sleep time? How does it affect your overall health and quality of life? Does it affect how your skin looks? Let’s take a quick look at the stages of sleep and what each one represents.

Sleep is divided into Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) stages. NREM is further divided into transition to sleep (Stage I), light sleep (Stage II) and deep sleep (Stage III). Deep sleep accounts for 20 percent of our total sleep time and in this stage, we can hardly be awakened. During deep sleep, our bodies reenergize, muscles and tissues are repaired, and our immune system is boosted. During REM sleep, the brain forms neuronal connections, replenishes neurotransmitters – these processes help strengthen our memory and elevate our mood during the day. Also during REM sleep, our level of creativity is enhanced.

To function at an optimal level during the day, most healthy adults need between 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night. Children and teens need even more. Lack of sleep has a wide range of negative effects. For example, it contributes to craving sugary and fatty foods due to increases in hormones that stimulate appetite; this raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Recent research shows that high-sugar foods may contribute to acne. Additional research revealed that sleep deprived individuals are perceived by others as having hanging eyelids, redder eyes, more swollen eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and more drooping at the corners of the mouth. A sleep deficit also causes an inability to cope with stress, moodiness, irritability and depression. All of these can have a negative impact on the skin’s appearance and exacerbate certain conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

So, if we want to feel better and look better, we need to give our body and brain adequate and quality rest. We should aim for at least seven hours of sleep, make sleep a priority just as we schedule time for other commitments, pay off our “sleep debt” by sleeping extra when we can, avoid smoking, drinking, and stimulants in the evening, and even keeping a sleep diary. Some mobile phone apps (e.g. Sleep Cycle, Sleep Time, Sleep Meister, etc.) can track the quality and quantity of sleep and some people have found them to be helpful. As we all know, there is nothing like a good night’s rest!

Sleep well!
About the Author: Bishr Al Dabagh, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained dermatologic surgeon focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers, Mohs micrographic surgery, reconstruction, and cosmetic procedures. He attended the University of Michigan’s Honors Scholar Program, graduating with three degrees, and was selected as student commencement speaker. During his time at UM-Flint, he received over 30 scholarships and awards including the prestigious Maize and Blue Award. Dr. Al Dabagh received his medical training at Case Western Reserve University, where he graduated at top of his class with Alpha Omega Alpha distinction. He completed his dermatology residency at Duke University Medical Center, followed by subspecialty training in procedural dermatology at the University of California – San Francisco’s Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center. Dr. Al Dabagh is a member of the Genesee County Medical Society.


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