One of the original supermodels, Elle Macpherson, was nicknamed The Body by Time Magazine exactly 30 years ago. The Australian stunner, who has posed a record five times for the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, has also appeared on the cover of the world’s most respected fashion magazines, including Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, British and Australian Vogue, and Cosmopolitan.
Now 54, the model and actress is still a fresh-faced beauty. Though surely genetics has a role to play, Macpherson also has a few other skin care secrets, namely sleep. “A good night’s sleep is a must! I have learned to be a better sleeper in recent years and am a solid seven-hours-a-night girl now,” she says. “We need our beauty sleep, it’s a scientific fact.”
Macpherson learned about the value of sleep from her nutritional doctor Dr. Simone Laubscher. According to Laubscher, the outer or top layer of our skin contains tightly-packed dead skin cells which are continually shed throughout the day. During deep sleep, the skin's metabolic rate increases, aiding repair. So-called beauty sleep is necessary to repair skin damaged by ultraviolet rays or toxic overload.
Macpherson swears by a three-step personal beauty sleep routine. First, she prepares a pot of Welleco Sleep Well Calming tea. She then applies a sleep spray on her pillows. Several brands, including This Works and Byredo, carry sleep sprays. Macpherson uses Sleep Welle Calming Mist, which has a lavender scent that she finds calming.
She then stretches, lying on her back, placing her feet up the wall, and stretching her arms. Macpherson says that stretching has an immediate calming effect after five minutes, allowing her to quickly fall asleep.
According to experts, the key is to get seven to nine hours of quality each night. Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified sleep specialist, says that those getting only six hours a night should get an additional one to three more hours, which will have a significant impact on their appearance. “Within 2 to 3 weeks, people will notice that you’re sleeping better by the way you look,” Breus says.
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Skin creates collagen as you sleep, which prevents sagging. “That’s part of the repair process,” says Patricia Wexler, MD, a dermatologist in New York. More collagen makes skin plumper and less likely to wrinkle. The body also increases blood flow to the skin while you sleep, meaning you will wake up with a healthier glow. Blood flows affect both your skin and your hair. Lack of sleep will result in dry skin, dark circles under your eyes and brittle hair.
Finally, it is important to apply a creamy moisturizer before bed and to drink plenty of water during the day to keep your complexion hydrated overnight. Sweet dreams.