Beauty sleep: it’s hard to come by.
Whether you’re stressed with after-hours work projects, binge-watching the latest Netflix series, or out late at dinner with friends — a solid 8 hours of sleep can become a tough goal.
And how many of us are actually getting that recommended 8 hours of sleep? Not many.
It turns out, The Center of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 adults doesn’t even get an adequate 7 hours of sleep a night.1
Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but the truth is — sleep deprivation is associated with a whole host of serious health problems that can affect –
- Your heart
- Your brain
- Your blood sugar
- And your blood pressure levels.2
You see, sleep is serious business!
And have you ever noticed after a night of tossing and turning that even your skin looks tired? You’re not imagining things — sleeplessness has a profound effect on your skin health. In fact, a Swedish study found that after a night of inadequate sleep, skin tends to look paler and eyes tend to look redder and puffier, with dark circles under them. Worst of all? The sleepless subjects in this study were judged to look more sad.3
How Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Skin?
Sleepless Nights Accelerate Skin Aging.
Well, to explain how sleep deprivation affects the skin, you’ve got to understand collagen. Now, collagen is the protein found in the skin that’s responsible for its firmness and strength.
When you’re young, your skin has plenty of collagen. That’s why youthful skin tends to be plump, firm, and smooth-looking. But, as the body ages collagen production slows down, leading to the appearance of wrinkles.
Of course, this is natural, but there are things you can do to help encourage collagen formation. For example — making sure you’re getting enough shut-eye!
You see, collagen formation is influenced by many factors that are closely linked to getting enough sleep.
How Sleep Deprivation Interferes with Collagen Production
Interferes With Immune Function
Sleep helps restore your body’s immune function. What does this have to do with collagen? Well, studies show that immune function affects the production of collagen — so if your immune function isn’t being restored on a nightly basis — your skin may not properly produce collagen.4
Increases Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a hormone that has many functions, one of which is to help your body manage stress. But sometimes your body overproduces cortisol, and an overproduction of cortisol can inhibit the production of collagen.5
And a lack of sleep? It’s directly linked to an increase in cortisol production.6 So without enough sleep? You cortisol levels might rise and slow the production of collagen.
Inhibits The Release of Growth Hormone
Somatotropin — also known as “growth hormone” — is naturally released from the pituitary gland. Growth hormone not only stimulates growth, but also cell reproduction and cell regeneration. Growth hormone also stimulates collagen production in the skin.7 But the release of this hormone into the body is highly dependent on… you guessed it, sleep.8
So, want a budget-friendly addition to your anti-aging regimen? Get your beauty rest.
Sleeplessness Impairs Skin Barrier Function
You might be wondering what “skin barrier function” is.
Put simply — the skin barrier refers to the outermost layer of your skin, known as the stratum corneum. This layer is designed to be tough and hard to penetrate. This toughness serves two purposes:
1) It helps prevent skin water loss.
2) It keeps out irritants, microorganisms, and other pollutants that might disturb the rest of your skin organ.
So, when your skin barrier function isn’t working well — your skin can end up looking red and irritated as a result of foreign invaders that are penetrating the stratum corneum. And with an increase in water loss, your skin can become dry and flaky.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation can disrupt your skin barrier function.9
How to fight it? Get plenty of sleep. Sleep can help restore your skin barrier function every night. Studies even show that sleep plays a role in reducing skin damage after UV exposure. Compared to bad sleepers, good sleepers showed a 30% greater barrier recovery and significant reduction in skin redness after exposure to UV light.10
Increases the Appearance of Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
You’ve done it before… you wake up after a fitful night of sleep and look in the mirror. What do you see looking right back at you? A pair of eyes that swollen and puffy. How did that happen?
Well, the area under your eyes is a lymphatic fluid channel and it doesn’t always drain well. Now, the lymphatic system is your network of tissues and organs that help get toxins and waste out of your body.
And anything from hormone fluctuations to salty snacks and allergies can lead to a buildup of lymphatic fluid in your lymphatic fluid channel. And when your body is fatigued — it’s less effective at carrying out simple tasks — like draining lymphatic fluid, leading to the appearance of puffy, swollen eyes.11
And those dreaded dark circles — they seem to get even darker after poor sleep.The skin under the eyes is especially delicate and translucent. As you get older, the skin thins, and the blood vessels under your skin become more visible, leading to the appearance of dark circles.
But since hormonal changes during sleep trigger healthy blood flow, dark circles may become more prominent when you’re not getting enough sleep.12
Good Sleep Habits
So… now that you know just how important sleep is for your skin, are you ready to start boosting the amount of beauty sleep you get? Experts recommend practicing “good sleep hygiene”. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Put Away Electronic Devices
You know that blue glow your phone and tablet give off? It could be keeping you awake long after you shut them off. That particular blue light may actually prevent the release of melatonin13 — the natural hormone that tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep.
To maintain a good sleeping rhythm, turn off electronic devices a couple hours before bedtime. Also, most devices have a night function – set the timer so your phone or tablet shifts to night mode an hour or so before you crawl under the covers.
2. Avoid Alcohol
If you’re finding you’re getting poor sleep, you may want to try your reducing alcohol intake.
A study found that after alcohol consumption, study subjects slept less and spent less time in deep REM sleep. The subjects were also more likely to be wakeful throughout the night.14
So, if you need something to relax you at the end of the day, try a cup of soothing chamomile tea to help you unwind.
3. Manage Stress
When you’re stressed, sleep can be the first thing to go. To manage stress, get plenty of exercise, spend time outdoors, meditate, or confide in a trusted friend or therapist.
It turns out there really is something to “getting your beauty sleep”.
Your skin needs that eight hours of rest to restore and rejuvenate itself. So to help keep skin firm, bright, and calm — tuck yourself in just a little bit earlier tonight.
For more beauty tips, keep reading here: