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Contrary to common belief, sleep is not for wimps but for high achievers who stay younger and fitter for longer:

- According to the Sophia Health Institute in Seattle, our brain shrinks by over 50% during deep sleep, allowing lymphatic fluid to wash between brain cells and flush out toxins, such as viruses and heavy metals. During, shallow sleep this does not happen. A lack of deep sleep can therefore lead to an accumulation of toxins in your brain which has been associated with an increased risk of Altsheimers disease and other brain-related disorders.

- Without sufficient sleep, our body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, and creates an effective immune response when we are exposed to harmful bugs. According to the National Sleep Foundation, cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, so regularly getting a good night of zzzz's supports your body's ability to resist infection - which is particularly important during cold winter months.

- There is also a reason it is called 'beauty sleep'. According to research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, people who are sleep deprived appear less attractive to others than those who look well rested. That is probably no surprise given that a lack of sleep interferes with lymphatic drainage of the face, leading to a paler, puffier complexion and more swollen eyes. Skin also makes essential new collagen when we sleep, which prevents sagging and premature aging; - and more collagen means plumper skin and fewer wrinkles.

So how to get a fabulous night's sleep? Here are our top 3 tips :

1) Try to exercise outdoors in the bright morning light for at least 20 minutes upon waking. This is the best way to support your circadian rythmns and make sure you start feeling sleeply when it is dark. A brisk walk or jog around the block or 50 deep knee bends followed by 50 situps in the park or garden is perfect - or if you live near the sea as I do, a quick plunge in the icy waves will work wonders to set you up for the rest of the day! Outdoor exercise in the sunshine and fresh air also provides a mental health boost beyond that of indoor gyms - and how great to go to work knowing that the exercise box has already been ticked!

2) Get to sleep before midnight, ideally before 11pm and avoid sweet snacks last thing. Our bodies all function according to a circadian rythmn which has been established for thousands of years and dictates that we get our deepest, most restorative sleep before midnight. The reason not to snack on carb-rich desserts before bed is that sugar and grains raise blood insulin levels, and as there is an inverse relationship between blood levels of Insulin and of growth hormone: when one is elevated, the other will automatically be low. We need growth hormone to rebuild muscle and repair organs while we sleep - and the greatest amount of growth hormone (about 75%) is released within an hour of first first falling asleep - so keep the sweet snacks for breakfast and stick to a plain camomile tea or a piece of cheese with a few nuts at night.

3) Last but certainly not least, unplug your Wifi router and fully switch off all mobile phones before going to bed. Just like our body resonates to the beat of dance music, our brain rythmns resonate with the electromagnetic frequencies around them - and wireless frequencies prevent deep sleep. To achieve deep, restorative sleep our brainwaves must slow down significantly to deep, so-called delta waves, however when a sleeping brain is exposed to the pulses of a Wifi router or a cellphone, the brain automatically mimics the frequencies emitted by these devices, making deep, delta sleep virtually impossible. Ideally switch off all electronic devices one hour before bed in order to encourage the production of our body's fabulous sleep hormone, melatonin, and have a truly blissful night's sleep.