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Want an easy, relaxing, inexpensive and extremely effective spa treatment – guaranteed by multiple studies to improve your skin, rev your metabolism and boost your immune system? Try the eight-hour full body sheet wrap.

National Sleep Awareness Week (March 28 to April 4) should serve as a national snooze-button for those 47 million American adults who get by with less than eight hours of sleep.Cheating Morpheus may save time – but at what cost to your health, your weight, your looks?

Beauty sleep is essential for banishing more than those dark circles under your eyes.It’s also a key ingredient for healthy skin.

Night time is the right time for skin repair and production of new skin cells, collagen and elastin (connective proteins that give skin its elasticity).

The secret to successful dieting may also lie between the sheets.No-doze dieters sabotage themselves, both by altering the body’s metabolism and by affecting our behavior.Sleep deprivation may trick you into feeling hungry even when you’re full by raising levels of cortisol, a hormone that affects appetite.Sleep-loss may also increase fat storage by impeding the body’s ability to efficiently metabolize carbohydrates.

Research from the University of Chicago also suggests that too little sleep may lower levels of leptin, a weight-regulating hormone produced by fat cells to tell the brain you’ve had enough to eat.

Needless to say, not getting enough rest makes it harder to muster the energy to exercise – and saps your strength and endurance when you do.

Missed ZZZs take a toll on health in other ways by hampering adequate production of antibodies needed to fight infection.Stiffing the Sandman raises the risk of heart disease and may hasten the onset and increase the severity of diabetes.

Don’t worry, get sleepy?

A 2002 National Sleep Foundation poll found that 21% of the sleep-deprived said they were dissatisfied with their lives and 12% said they were angry – nearly three times the levels found among the adequately rested.

Of course, nothing’s worse than turning in only to toss and turn without getting to sleep.Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of insomnia, as well as experience feelings of sleepiness during the day.

Could it be something you ate? Possible culprits: alcohol, too few carbohydrates in diet or too much protein before going to bed.

Click here to learn more abut the food-sleep connection.Or check out the National Sleep Foundation’s Top Ten Sleep Tips.

Published March 22, 2004

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