Sleep is incredibly important to your overall health. But did you know that the condition of your skin can be affected by your sleep quality and sleep habits? A lack of good sleep won’t just affect your attitude. It can also affect your skin health, making your beauty routine even more frustrating when you’re already crabby and cranky from poor rest.
A good nightly skin care routine can really help to improve your overall beauty regimen. The better you look the moment you wake up, the less you’ll need to do to “get ready.” This can boost your mood and morale in the morning, too.
You put your largest organ (your skin) through a lot during the day – from minor things, like touching your face with dirty hands, to major ones, like pollutants and free radical exposure. And no one wants to wake up with a lackluster complexion and puffy bags under their eyes from all this mistreatment.
But, why are your sleep habits so important for skin (and overall) health? Let’s look at this question first…
What Does the Science Say About Sleep & Skin Health?
The most important thing you can do to help your skin while you sleep is to actually get a good night’s sleep. Research has supported the notion that a lack of good, quality sleep can affect your skin health in major way – particularly chronic poor sleep.
A 2014 study involving 60 women showed proper sleep may help to stave off signs of aging.
The chronic poor sleepers in this study showed more signs of aging, a diminished skin barrier function, and hindered skin healing.
Not only that, the women who got good rest reported better personal perceptions of their physical appearance.1
So, getting good sleep doesn’t only affect your skin physically. It can also play a role in your attitudes and feelings about yourself – your self-esteem – which is so important every day when it comes time to get up and get yourself ready.
To add to that, research has shown that people may be able to detect subtle clues of sleep deprivation – and they’re less inclined to interact with them.2
There is a large amount of scientific investigation into sleep deprivation and the outcomes it can have for your overall health. Scientists now know that lack of sleep can affect your immune system in huge ways. It is believed that this may affect collagen production (along with the integrity of several of your body’s systems).3 Collagen accounts for about 25 percent of your body’s entire protein mass and is critical to skin health.4
7 Habits to Include in Your Nightly Skin Care Routine
Having a nightly routine is linked to better sleep quality.5 The following healthy habits can, directly and indirectly, affect your skin. Some can help improve your skin through direct action (like cleansing). Others on this list can simply help you get better sleep, giving your body the boost it needs to help improve your skin health.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at seven habits you can pick up (or let go of) for a better nightly skin care routine…
1. Cleanse Nightly
Every great nightly skin care routine involves cleansing. Proper washing will help to rid your pores of dirt, oils, and dead skin cells that can clog them. Make sure you are using the right products for your skin type. And never skip cleansing your face before bed.
Moisturize after cleansing (yes, even if you have oily skin), and exfoliate one to two nights per week. Just make sure that you are not too harsh with it. Over-exfoliation can disrupt your skin barrier, affecting hydration.6 Keep it gentle, and let the products do the work for you.
2. Keep Your Bedding Clean
Individuals who suffer with certain skin conditions have been found to have more dust mites on their skin, clothes, and yes – bedding – than others.7 Keep your sheets clean, washing once a week, if you want to help improve your skin. A healthy nightly habit could be to switch your main pillowcase every night before bed.
3. Go to Sleep Hydrated
Your skin is made up of about 30 percent water. Increasing water intake (in those who are dehydrated) can help boost skin’s thickness, density, and hydration.8 The best approach to this is to stay well hydrated throughout the day. If you are well hydrated going into the evening, you won’t have to drink a ton of water to feel hydrated at bedtime – which can affect sleep if you need to get up during the night to use the restroom.
4. Stop Overeating at Night
Snacking at night is okay (and can even be beneficial) if healthy foods are chosen and portions are kept very small.9 However, late-night junk food binges can be detrimental to your sleep quality.10
If you find yourself craving food at night, reach for something that is low in calories/fat and high in skin-boosting vitamins and nutrients. Have a small handful of healthy nuts, or an easy-to-munch fruit, like an apple or banana. Veggie options are good, too – think celery and peanut butter, or baby carrots. You can make snack choices that are beneficial to your skin and sleep health.
5. Get to Bed Early
You already know how critical good sleep is to your skin health. Getting enough sleep is also a huge factor in nightly skin care. The general consensus in the scientific community is that a healthy adult should get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Many people need more – eight or nine hours.11 Have a set, scheduled bedtime that will allow for a proper amount of sleep, and stick to it!
You should turn off all lights and devices (phones, tablets, TVs, etc.) when it’s time for bed. Lights, especially and the light from your devices, can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.12
6. Avoid Alcohol
Skin conditions are more common in heavy alcohol users. In fact, alcohol abuse can be detrimental to skin health in the earliest stages of abuse.13 Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can also affect your sleep quality.14 Bottom line, if you care about your sleep and skin health, avoid alcohol, or drink only in moderation.
Mindful meditation can help you to relax, reduce stress, and improve the quality of your sleep.15 And meditation, along with other complementary/alternative medicines, is gaining interest in skin care research.16 Medical and mental health professionals are even utilizing mindfulness-based approaches with individuals suffering from various skin disorders.17
You can really wind down your night by turning the lights low and getting in a good 10 to 30 minutes of mindful meditation. It’s a great idea to do this as the last step in your nightly skin care routine before shutting off the lights, turning off devices, and crawling into your clean bed.
Get Your Beauty Rest!
Now you understand how important sleep and a good nightly skin care routine are to keep your skin health in tip-top shape. Please note, if you are having any troubles with sleeping and/or sleep disturbances, it’s time to talk with your doctor. This could be caused by some other underlying condition. However, if you just want to enhance your beauty regimen by improving your sleep, then follow these seven habits to let your best complexion shine through.
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