Friday, 28 July 2017 06:48

Pillow Talk

Written by   Robert Sachs, L.M.T., co-founder of Diamond Way Ayurveda

In a report from ABC News, which got its research from The American Academy of Dermatology, "resting your face on the pillow the same way every night for years on end leads to wrinkles. Called sleep lines or sleep wrinkles, they eventually become etched onto the surface of the skin, says the Academy, and no longer disappear when the head is not resting on the pillow."

This statement does not address the notion that, along with the pillows themselves, cotton pillowcases may also be a culprit. It is important to address both issues.

Given the fact that people lie on pillows from the time they were born, the logical implication is that they began their path to becoming wrinkled since birth. If this is true, how long do those habitual sleep patterns take to create unwanted wrinkles? Furthermore, why do some people not get them more than others when most people do, in fact, sleep on their sides? If everyone is doing basically the same thing for 45 to 50 years, what accounts for this variability of wrinkles?

From birth to 10 years of age, a person is in the kapha stage of life. This time of life is dominated by the water and earth elements. During this stage of life, people are at their most hydrated; the skin is soft and creamier in nature. All fluids of the body, such as lymph, interstitial fluids, and blood, are associated with the water element. As the body sees an increase in hormonal activity, people begin to heat up and enter the pitta stage of life. As the body heats up, people sweat more and need to learn to replenish their tissues with quality hydration. This stage of life lasts until age 45. People, generally, have not learned good hydration skills. They do not always drink the amount of water their bodies require. The various drinks they begin to imbibe instead of quality water – such as soda, alcohol, coffee, and tea – are beverages that are dehydrating. Few people make up for this dehydration by drinking quality water. Along with dehydration from what people consume, skin is also exposed to the sun and synthetic fiber that traps heat around the body. As a result, the body perspires and draws the moisture to the skin's surface to cool it down; however, people usually use antiperspirants and, at the same time, decide that they might need another soda or beer to cool down. Theoretically speaking, they wick off the moisture they naturally need, dehydrate their body more, and then drink something even more dehydrating.

After age 45, people enter the vata stage of life. During this stage, the body begins to naturally cool down, but also begins to dry up! This dryness occurs both within and outside of the body. Vata dosha is closely connected to the lungs and large intestine. With more vata dosha in the general constitution during this stage, people tend to get more constipated as their digestive fire dies down. The habit of smoking begins to reveal itself even more at this time. If people were smokers during their adult years, smoking during the pitta stage of life affected their livers and caused vaso-constriction – both affecting their blood quality and the easy delivery of healthy circulation. Thus, the capillaries in the skin had poor quality circulation and became insufficient. But in the vata stage of life the lungs are more affected. In Chinese medicine, the tissue related to the large intestine and lungs is skin. With constipation, bad eating habits, and smoking, the skin suffers. While wrinkles are inevitable as part of the vata stage of life, with these habits, the skin suffers even more.

To say that pillows are one of the primary causes of wrinkles or that changing pillows will eradicate the production of wrinkles is like driving a car into a tree and then coming to the conclusion that rather than learning to drive better or be more cautious, the solution is a new car. One may be needed after the crash, but first things first.

It is important to have a pillow that offers even distribution and support to the head structure, regardless of the sleeping position. It is better to have natural cotton or down batting for fill. Buckwheat pillows are also ideal. Some people like to use memory foam-type pillows, but with any synthetic pillow, the issue is going to be heat. Whether using synthetic or natural pillows, choose a high thread count, all-cotton pillowcase. The high thread count, all-cotton pillowcase will allow the skin and scalp to breathe more efficiently, which is good for ensuring that the face gets the most amount of circulation around it.

Blaming pillows for wrinkles is a great way to sell pillows, but it probably only contributes to up to 10 percent of wrinkle formation. The best protection against an excess of wrinkles while aging is a better diet, the elimination or reduction of dehydrating beverages, the cessation of smoking, and avoidance of the sun. These health-giving changes will also help people sleep better, wake more refreshed, and look less wrinkled over time.

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