Sleep 101

Sleep is important for feeling beautiful. And blame it on the invention of electricity, increasingly demanding jobs or the return of Conan to late night TV, but we sleep a whole lot less than we used to.On average, Americans awake at 5:47 a.m. and do not hit the pillow (not when we actually sleep) until after 10:15 p.m.; that’s not enough.QUIZ: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?While you may think that sleep is just a good way to let McDreamy enter your subconscious fantasies, sleep has the ultimate restorative powers and you need it for your hormonal balance and for increasing the rejuvenating human growth hormone, which is needed to choreograph the looking and feeling beautiful dance in your body.Growth hormone is secreted primarily when we sleep and is dependent on your sleep. We’re just not doing enough sleep. Six-and-a-half to eight high-quality hours a day will help you restore your energy, decrease pain and lose weight. And these hours need to be solid hours: You have to snooze about two hours in a row before those six-and-a-half to eight hours become truly restorative sleep.Inadequate sleep causes you to release less of the pleasure hormone serotonin in your brain. So to compensate, you may try to subconsciously increase serotonin levels with foods like sugar or harmful substances like tobacco. So ignoring sleep is like ignoring a leak in the roof—if you do, things will only get worse.

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