What does Sleep do for the Skin?
“Beauty Sleep” is a real thing!
We’ve all had this happen to us: You’re trying to get through your day after a night of little sleep or a long, exhausting week, and everyone you run into can’t help but remark how tired you look. It turns out that “beauty sleep” is more than just an expression – sleep is vital to rejuvenation, and missing z’s can lead to skin problems and more.
The Role Of Sleep
All living creatures need sleep, and humans are no exception. Science is still looking into all of the ways that sleep is vital for well-being, but here’s what we do know: Your body uses its sleeping hours to regenerate and repair itself. This is true both mentally and physically. It’s why you sleep more when you’re sick, and why sleepless nights can leave you looking and feeling less than your best.
Processes that occur during sleep include:
- Your body flushes toxins and clears away dead cells
- Moisture levels in your skin change, balancing pH and replenishing skin oils
- Cells regenerate, repairing damage and healing
If you don’t get enough sleep, especially over time, you may notice several tell-tale signs, including:
- Dark bags below your eyes
- A swollen or puffy look to your skin
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Stress-related breakouts and blotchiness
Lack of sleep and poor quality sleep can both contribute to skin problems and premature aging, in addition to many other issues. The importance of quality sleep can’t be overlooked!
Sleep and your Skin
What Does Sleep Do For Your Skin?
When we sleep, our minds are at rest, but our bodies are actively carrying rejuvenating and repairing processes at the cellular level. Particularly during Stage IV (REM) sleep, hormones peak and initiate cell and tissue repair.
During sleep, collagen production is accelerated. This component of the dermal matrix is responsible for skin’s firmness. When collagen production is impeded by poor sleep or not enough sleep, skin loses its suppleness and water retention capacity. Loss of sleep also diminishes the skin’s ability to protect itself, making skin more prone to irritation and inflammation.
Thinner, dehydrated skin can be noticeable after just one night—thin skin doesn’t hide blood vessels effectively, resulting in dark circles under your eyes. Cumulative sleep deprivation over weeks, months or years, however, can lead to even harder to conceal signs—lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
How can I get better beauty sleep?
How Can I Get Better Beauty Sleep?
You can improve your skin’s health (and your overall health, for that matter), with sufficient, restful sleep. Getting enough quality rest is often a challenge. But there are simple lifestyle changes and habits to develop that can enhance your sleep and your skin-rejuvenation potential while you sleep.
Get your body ready for rejuvenating sleep by:
- Avoiding salty meals or hard-to-digest meals (like red meat) before bedtime
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
- Getting sufficient omega-3s (as part of a balanced diet and/or supplements) for a boost in hydration
- Ending vigorous exercise at least three hours before bedtime
You can also get your body ready for sleep by practicing proper sleep hygiene, which includes:
Making your bedroom for sleeping only.
That means removing all electronic devices from the bedroom. Not only are cell phones, laptops and TVs distractions we often entertain too late into the night, they emit electromagnetic frequencies that disrupt your body’s own electrical signals.
Making sure your bedroom is dark.
When the lights are off, you shouldn’t be able to see your hand in front of your face. Light inhibits your pineal gland from secreting melatonin, the chemical your body produces to induce sleepiness.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule even on the weekends.
If you are in the habit of eating before you head to bed where you fall asleep catching up on the news, these changes will take some discipline, and it may take a while before you feel and see the difference.