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Ensuring adequate and restful sleep is a vital component of overall health and wellness, yet it often takes a back seat amidst various lifestyle factors. From suboptimal bedding and nighttime lighting to poor sleep habits, numerous factors can negatively impact your precious Z’s. Dorsey Standish, MS, a mechanical engineer, neuroscientist, wellness expert, and CEO of Mastermind Meditate, sheds light on the worst sleeping habit that can accelerate aging.

Standish emphasizes, “The worst sleeping habit that’s aging you faster is not sleeping enough! The most important thing for your well-being and vitality is that you DO get sleep.” Citing a UCLA study, she reveals that even one night of partial sleep deprivation in older adults activates genes related to biological aging.

With one-third of U.S. adults not getting sufficient rest daily, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and almost 40% experiencing unplanned daytime sleepiness at least once a month, the impact on health is significant. Insufficient sleep is linked to various health concerns, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and obesity, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Standish underscores the benefits of “beauty sleep,” noting that during sleep, the body and brain undergo cellular repair and rejuvenation. She explains, “Sleep allows your cells to produce more protein molecules, forming the building blocks for cell repair. Additionally, cerebrospinal fluid drains the brain’s waste products and toxins, including beta-amyloid protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.”

To ensure a restful night of beauty sleep, Standish recommends practicing good sleep hygiene, such as disconnecting from electronic devices 30 to 60 minutes before sleep, engaging in wind-down activities like reading, and incorporating gentle stretches or a non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) mindfulness practice into your bedtime routine. These practices signal to your body and mind that it’s time to relax and enjoy a deep sleep.

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