Is there anything worse than being told that you look tired? When someone insinuates that you didn’t sleep well last night, they are basically implying that you look old. Sleep deprivation does more than prompt you to order an additional espresso shot in your morning coffee. It also affects your skin’s appearance.
Instead of spending money on products that cover up your skin, you can reverse skin damage from the inside out. Research shows that sleep can help give you a glowing complexion and make you look younger. Here’s how a good night’s sleep can give you beautiful looking skin.
It’s a fact. People who don’t sleep well are less satisfied with their physical appearance than those who do (1). According to a report by WebMD, sleep might be the closest thing there is to the fountain of youth (3). That’s because the skin repairs itself during sleep through the process of cell regeneration. If you’re getting less than six hours of sleep each night, your appearance may suffer.
According to Doctor Michael Breus, board certified sleep expert, it only takes a few extra hours of sleep at night for your skin to start repairing itself the next day (3). By two to three weeks of consistent sleep, you should stop receiving comments about how tired you look.
During sleep, your skin repairs itself by producing collagen, which is needed to give you plumper skin that is more resistant to wrinkles. Research shows that when you only get five hours of sleep at night, it doubles your risk of developing wrinkles when compared to sleeping a full seven hours (3).
A 2013 study conducted by Estée Lauder was the first of its kind to find that there is a link between poor sleep and increased aging. The study found that poor sleepers had slower recovery time from environmental factors that cause the skin to appear older, including a disruption in the way the skin protects itself from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The study also confirmed that poor sleepers had a lower opinion of their facial and skin appearance (6).
According to a 2015 study, people who were good sleepers had reduced intrinsic skin aging. The study found that individuals who do not sleep well had higher levels of transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Good sleepers had 30 percent better skin barrier recovery when compared to poor sleepers. Test subjects who slept well also reported having a better perception of their physical appearance and attractiveness than those who did not sleep well. The study concluded that chronic sleep loss is linked to increased aging, poor skin barrier protection, and lower perceptions of physical attractiveness (4).
A 2017 study conducted by the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications found that it only takes one night of sleep loss for your skin to show changes. The study determined that test subjects had several biophysical skin changes after one night of sleep deprivation, including decreased skin hydration and elasticity as well as increased skin scaling. Sleep deprivation causes skin pores to become bigger, and it decreases skin lightness. Blood flow to the face also decreases. The study confirmed that these changes were most prominent in the lip, eye and cheek areas (5).
While getting enough sleep is essential for preventing wrinkles, research shows that your sleep position is also important. According to one study, sleeping on your side or stomach may apply tension, compression, and shear force to your face that causes facial distortion and can lead to the development of wrinkles (2). Results concluded that sleep lines occur on the lips, cheeks, and forehead. The study recommended sleeping on your back whenever possible.
Sleep enhances blood flow to your face, which is the driving force behind glowing skin. Blood carries nutrients throughout your body. A lack of blood flow to your face means you aren’t receiving healing nutrients to fight skin damage, such as vitamins and antioxidants. Dull skin is one of the first signs of sleep deprivation.
Decreased blood flow to the face also gives you puffy eyes with dark circles or bags underneath them. The skin underneath your eyes is very thin. When blood flow in the face accumulates under the eyes due to poor circulation, it gives off the appearance of dark circles (3).
Dark circles and discoloration under your eyes can also be caused by age, genes, and an increased production of melanin. Sleep deprivation will only make these factors worse. Experts recommend elevating your head at night to optimize blood flow (3).
Research shows that sleep deprivation causes the corners of your mouth to droop, which gives off the appearance of someone who is sad. Sleep deprivation also causes your skin care products to become less effective. When you sleep, your skin can focus on repairing itself from sun damage. Beauty products that improve your skin are more efficient when blood flow is consistent (3).
Your skin also loses moisture at a higher rate when you sleep than during the day. Applying a moisturizer at night and drinking lots of water throughout the day can help regulate these levels, so your beauty products become more efficient at keeping your skin healthy (3).
Along with eating a healthy diet, drinking lots of water and staying out of the sun and getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Here are some tips for sleep better at night.
Your internal sleep cycle enjoys a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends. If you happen to miss your bedtime due to a social obligation, make sure you still wake up on time the next morning so that you won’t mess up your sleep schedule.
Light exposure significantly influences your sleep cycle. Watching television late at night or scrolling through your smartphone emits blue light that tells your brain to stop making melatonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Keep all electronics out of the bedroom and avoid using them two hours before going to sleep.
If you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, you might want to consider a natural sleep aid. When compared to their synthetic counterparts, natural sleeping pills are less addictive and have fewer side effects. Look for a natural sleeping aid that contains valerian root extract, melatonin, or l-tryptophan, which have all been proven to help you sleep naturally.