Is “Beauty Sleep” a Real Thing?
We’ve all experienced the rejuvenating benefits of a good night’s sleep—more energy, mental clarity, and yes, even improvements in appearance. Compelling studies continue to outline the extensive array of protective benefits that come with proper sleep.
Now, scientists from the University of Manchester are adding to our understanding of exactly how sleep works to heal us. Research published in Nature Cell Biology highlights another way that restful sleep functions to repair the body, prepare us for the day ahead, and even delay aging.1
The new research examines collagen within the body’s extracellular matrix—the space between cells and organs that provides structural support via connective tissues and allows for optimal cellular communication.
Collagen makes up a significant portion of this matrix—up to a quarter of our total weight as the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is especially prevalent in the skin. It was previously believed that by age 17, collagen fibers in the body were fully formed permanent structures that wear down over time.
However, as the new study shows, this is only partly true.
In addition to the thicker, permanent collagen fibers, there are also much thinner, non-permanent collagen fibers that contribute to this matrix and provide structural integrity and a youthful skin appearance. These thinner fibers, the researchers found, become broken during the day but are replenished during restful sleep at night.
What was also discovered is that this repair process is directly influenced by genes controlling our body clock, also known as circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms direct our sleep/wake cycles and other biochemical fluctuations within the body. They’re governed by our body clock genes. This study found that the body clock plays a central role in the repair of these smaller collagen fibers.
Specifically, in a mouse model with genetically-disabled circadian clock genes, the repair process was random and not organized for optimal tissue and matrix function—due to abnormal collagen fibers and collagen accumulation.
This study is important because it points to the critical role of maintaining healthy sleep cycles to promote efficient and effective repair processes that can only occur during restful sleep. Earlier studies have shown that body clocks genes become less accurate with age, leading to disrupted sleep cycles and less repair activity.
Optimizing Sleep Cycles
There are several ways we can optimize our sleep cycles and support healthy body clock rhythms in the process. Maintaining a regular bedtime each night, avoiding blue light emitted from electronic screens 2-3 hours before bed, and sleeping in a completely darkened room are all critical to encourage the production of melatonin—the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter controlled by our circadian rhythms.
ecoNugenics also recommends HonoPure® >98% honokiol purified from magnolia bark. This potent extract helps to balance sleep cycles, along with other significant benefits for neurological health.
HonoPure is shown to support healthy levels of the “stress” hormone cortisol, support relaxation, and promote restful, rejuvenating sleep. HonoPure is also shown to support a healthy mood, cognitive function, cellular health, antioxidant status, and more—making it an excellent addition to promote healthy cell function, sleep and optimal repair processes.*
As we continue to discover new mechanisms by which sleep repairs, rejuvenates, and replenishes us, the value of a restful night’s sleep has never been higher. By maintaining healthy circadian rhythms, we can ensure optimal health and longevity across all systems, with one of nature’s greatest gifts: A good night’s sleep.