It's called beauty sleep for a reason! While we are sound asleep our body is repairing cells throughout the body and replenishing enzymes in order to get ready for the following day. Missing out on a regular sleep cycle can dramatically speed up the aging process. As if bags and wrinkles under the eyes weren’t enough evidence of this, studies have confirmed that poor sleep ages skin faster. In addition, inadequate sleep is linked to DNA damage and age-related diseases like heart problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes. To get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night, create a calming bedtime routine, reduce lighting and screen time before bed, and don’t eat or drink caffeine close to bedtime.
Chronic stress causes a lot of problems, from wrecking your sleep to increasing your risk of heart disease. One study specifically states that stress was shown to shorten telomeres, the DNA protective caps that help keep cells thriving throughout your body. People with the highest stress levels had shorter telomeres. “It was as if these people were a decade older than people in the lowest stress category”, say the study authors. But don't fret, you can reverse this process by simply reducing your day to day stress with practices like meditation, spending time in nature, and exercising.
3. Whole Food Diet Consisting of Mostly Plants
Findings from a few studies suggest that eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging. Findings from research studies also suggest that a diet containing lots of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can accelerate aging. Focus on eating a primarily plant-based diet with the occasional high-quality white meats or fish to provide plenty of healthy fats and Omega-3s.
4. Protection from the Sun
Whether spending a day at the beach or simply running errands, sun protection is essential. You can protect your skin by seeking shade, covering up with clothing, and using sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher), and water-resistant. You should apply sunscreen every day to all skin that is not covered by clothing.
5. Exercise most days
The best way to slow down aging is to stay in great shape. One recent study showed that older people who exercised regularly throughout their lives had the muscle mass, cholesterol levels, and even immune system function of much younger people. Not surprisingly, exercise leads to healthy weight loss and encourages fat loss (as opposed to muscle); this also helps control blood sugar to prevent diabetes. Exercise has mental benefits as well. “Physical activity can decrease depression and anxiety, and can help cognitive function to keep one’s mind sharp,” Dr. Epstein says. Staying strong, steady on your feet, and limber can also help preserve your ability to live independently longer, he says. Aim for a goal of 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days a week, with 10 minutes of strength and balance training two days a week, he says.
6. Spend Time in Nature
A recent 2018 study published by the University of East Anglia reported that living close to nature and spending time outside has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. Thereport reveals that exposure to green space reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, stress, high blood pressure, and increases sleep duration. So spending consistent time in nature is a simple but extremely effective way to dramatically slow the aging process.
7. Active Brain
Numerous studies indicate that you may be able to lower the risk or delay the onset of age-related mental conditions like Dementia and Alzheimer’s if you have what’s known as “cognitive reserve”. This is a resilient brain network that keeps working even if other parts of the brain suffer damage. You can build up this reserve by staying actively engaged in learning new skills and continuing to socialize throughout your life.
8. Apply Moisturizer Daily
Regularly using lotion and moisturizer should be a part of any good skincare regimen, but some are better than others. Choose a lotion with plenty of vitamins with an SPF of 15 to protect your skin during the day. The most important times to use moisturizers are after a bath, shave or exfoliation. For some, this might be twice a day. Moisturizing after a shower is very important because hot water strips all the moisture and oils out of your skin, leaving it parched and dry. While hot water may be relaxing, it also wreaks havoc on your skin. Never skip the moisturizer.
9. Avoid Toxins
Living in a highly polluted environment and not taking care of your body can contribute to early aging. Air pollution and toxic fumes have been shown to cause age spots, wrinkles, and other skin conditions, which can affect your appearance. Environmental factors aren’t the only pollutants you need to worry about; smoking cigarettes also takes a toll on your skin. The nicotine that enters your body from smoking can cause the blood vessels in the outermost layers of your skin to narrow, reducing blood flow and preventing your skin from getting enough oxygen and nutrients.
10. Maintain a Positive Attitude
The old saying is true: You’re only as old as you feel. Research backs up the benefits of staying young at heart, having a positive attitude about aging, maintaining a purpose, and staying socially engaged may help slow the physical and mental aging process. One study revealed that people with a positive attitude lived 7.5 years longer than pessimists, regardless of health. Another found that negative thinking led to steeper physical and cognitive declines. Yet another study showed those that glass-half-full types were less likely to develop dementia, even if they had a high risk for the disease. Gratitude and positivity can literally add years to your life, take a few minutes to center your mindset with these simple principles in mind.