They don't call it beauty sleep for nothing. "A good night’s sleep will ensure that you awake refreshed, looking radiant and youthful," says Perricone. "Adequate sleep is vital to avoiding eye area puffiness and maintaining vibrant skin. Sleep turns down the negative effects of cortisol and the 'bad' neurotransmitters, like epinephrine and norepinephrine that can be elevated during stress. Growth hormone — the youth hormone — is released during sleep."
Where pills can make you dependant or loopy — anyone who has awoken from an Ambien stupor to find they had inexplicably devoured the contents of their fridge or walked their dog in the middle of the night knows just how crazy they can make you — it turns out that whole "turkey makes you sleepy" thing is not only true, but a saving grace for those who suffer from insomnia.
According to Perricone, foods that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan — salmon, halibut, turkey, beans, and lentils — should be added to your diet ASAP. "Tryptophan acts as a precursor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in helping the body regulate appetite, sleep, and mood," he says. "Tryptophan can actually raise levels of this important neurotransmitter, making it a wonderful treatment in insomnia, anxiety, and depression."
In addition, Perricone says that people who exercise enjoy improved sleep quality — they fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. So if you're having trouble getting your full eight hours, hit the gym regularly to help improve the quality of your snoozing.
Illustrations by Naomi Abel