How much sleep do you get each night?
If your answer is less than seven hours, then this could be having quite a significant impact on your skin.
Curious about how your nightly shut-eye affects the look of your skin? Here a few reasons you need to prioritize your beauty sleep.
For Skin Renewal and Repair
Your skin cells are constantly healing and regenerating, but research suggests that the rate at which it does this doubles while you are asleep, especially between the hours of 11pm and 4am.
This is when cell mitosis is at its peak, which is the cell division that occurs in order for your skin cells to regenerate.
However, a light sleep is not enough for this to happen…
Instead, your body needs to be in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, which is when you are sleeping the deepest. This is when the majority of skin cell regeneration occurs, and this helps to repair all of the damage that has been caused to your skin throughout the day.
For Higher Collagen Production
Collagen is essential when it comes to a youthful complexion, as this protein makes up the structural foundation underneath your skin. This makes sleep particularly important, because your skin actually produces more collagen while you’re asleep.
Your body naturally produces collagen, but the rate at which it does so declines with age, which is why fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin become so prominent as your life goes on.
As mentioned above, your skin repairs itself while you are asleep, and an important part of this process is the production of new collagen.
Insufficient sleep each night can really bring about the onset of premature aging, resulting in double the amount of wrinkles you would have otherwise experienced.
Lack of Sleep Leads to Inflammation
You likely already know that inflammation is extremely bad for your body, as well as your skin.
What does inflammation do to your skin?
Quite a few different things, such as:
- Exacerbates inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne and rosacea
- Leads to redness in the skin
- Premature skin aging
- Slower wound healing
- A breakdown in collagen and elastin
Wondering how a lack of sleep leads to inflammation?
Because your body considers sleep deprivation to be a stressor, which triggers cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, to be released throughout your body.
Cortisol quickly increases inflammation, while also causing problems with the way in which your body is able to regulate its blood sugar levels.
For Moisture Retention and pH Balance
A lack of quality sleep has a huge impact on the moisture levels within your skin.
Because while you are in the REM stage of sleep, your body works to rebalance its hydration, giving your skin the water it needs while processing any excess water for removal.
When you do not get enough quality sleep, your body does not deliver this vital moisture to your skin, meaning that you are likely to wake up with quite a dry complexion.
The fact that a lack of sleep also causes a drop in your skin’s pH levels makes this even worse…
With a lower pH level, your skin will not be able to produce the moisture it needs, leaving it even drier.
As you likely already know, the oils that your skin naturally produces also play an important role in keeping your skin moisturized.
Your skin produces the highest amount of oils around midday, with this slowly decreasing as the day progresses. By the time night rolls around, your skin is producing the least amount of oil, meaning that you are lacking an adequate layer of protection on the surface of your skin, leading to your skin’s moisture evaporating at a much greater rate.
By sleeping well each night, you encourage your body to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated from within, countering the effects of the extra moisture loss your skin experiences.
For Your Skin Care Products to be More Effective
During the day, your skin works so hard to fight against everything from UV rays to pollution to harmful toxins in the environment.
At night, your skin is able to enjoy a break from all of this, and focus on repairing itself instead.
This is when the skin care products that you apply will be at their most effective, as your skin is able to really make use of all of the ingredients that you are feeding it with.
For Consistent Blood Flow
A lack of quality sleep interferes with your blood flow and circulation, and this can have quite the affect on your skin.
Well, your blood is what feeds your skin with oxygen and nutrients, and it needs both of these supplied regularly in order to thrive.
When your blood flow is inconsistent, your skin ends up missing out on oxygen and nutrients, resulting in a dull and ashen complexion.
On the other hand, quality sleep will help to regulate your blood flow, keeping it steady and strong, which is a huge benefit for your skin.
For Prevention of Dark Circles and Puffiness
Dark circles and puffiness around the eyes are obvious signs that you have not been sleeping well enough.
Have you ever wondered exactly why this happens?
Well, the dark circles are due to your blood vessels dilating, leading to them becoming more visible beneath the surface of your skin.
When it comes to under-eye puffiness…
This is caused by the fact that your body would not be able to properly rebalance its hydration levels, which was discussed above. Since it cannot distribute water evenly through your skin, it ends up pooling underneath your eyes, resulting in puffiness.
Lack of Quality Sleep Worsens Immune-Related Skin Conditions
In the same way that a lack of sleep disrupts your blood flow, it also interferes with the way in which your body is able to regulate your immune system.
Not only does this mean that you will end up falling ill more often, but it also has a great impact on your skin.
Your skin and your immune system actually work together quite a bit, both playing an important role in keeping the body safe. Many skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, are actually related to the immune system, meaning that, when your immune system is weak, these conditions tend to flare up.
How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?
Working out how much sleep you actually need can be tricky, because this number varies between individuals.
On average, an adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.
How do you work out exactly how much sleep you need?
Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night. Continue doing this until you can feel that your body is more awake and energized throughout the day.
Supporting Your Skin While You Sleep
Now that you know how much sleep you need, as well as exactly why your skin needs this sleep, you can take a few extra steps to ensure that you are really supporting your skin in its functions while you are asleep.
Wondering how you can help your skin?
The first way is by establishing an effective skin care routine that you follow each evening before you go to bed.
Even if you do not want to follow multiple steps, you should, at the very least, always cleanse your skin and then apply a moisturizer. The cleanser will clean your skin of the dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells that build up over the course of the day, while the moisturizer forms a protective layer over the surface of your skin, helping to prevent moisture loss at the time when it happens the most.
Serums are also especially beneficial at night, because, as mentioned above, your skin is much more receptive to skin care products and ingredients while you are sleeping. Serums are lightweight, so they are quickly absorbed into your skin, and potent, thanks to their high concentration of active ingredients.
You could also try making a few adjustments to the way in which you sleep…
Do you use cotton pillowcases?
While these may be the most commonly available, silk or satin pillowcases are a much better choice to make for your skin.
Because when your face rubs against cotton, friction is caused, and this ends up tugging at your skin, resulting in lines over time. In fact, many dermatologists can immediately tell if a person favors a certain side when they sleep, because this is where a greater concentration of wrinkles can be found.
With silk or satin, your skin glides over the fabric, causing little to no tension.
Of course, preventing your skin from having to rub against any sort of fabric while you sleep would be ideal. The only way to do this is to sleep on your back, which is the sleeping position that most dermatologists out there recommend.
Find it difficult to stay on your back throughout the night?
Try placing pillows around you to discourage you turning onto your side in the middle of the night.
Improving the Quality of Your Sleep
As mentioned above, your skin does its best work when your body is in the REM stage of sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep.
In order to encourage this, there are a few ways in which you can go about improving the quality of your sleep, so that your sleep is much more restful and deeper.
How can you do this?
Begin by turning your bedroom into a peaceful haven, with dim lighting, soft music and calming aromatherapy scents, such as lavender.
A cup of a herbal tea before bed, such as chamomile tea, can also really help to induce a peaceful sleep.
When it comes to other food and drink, try not to eat anything a couple of hours before bed, as this will only keep your digestive system awake and working, which will then keep you awake too.
Another piece of advice often given when it comes to sleeping better at night is to remove all electronic devices from your bedroom, and to stay away from them a few hours before bedtime.
Because the screens emit blue light, which interferes with your body clock and will keep you awake for longer.
Of course, for many, removing all electronic devices from the bedroom is just not a realistic option. Fortunately, you have another choice…
There are many apps out there that you can download onto your devices, and these will dim the amount of blue light your device emits in time with the sun going down, which helps to regulate your body clock in a more natural way.
By simulating the light from the sun, this encourages your body to produce melatonin at the right time, which will not only help you to feel sleepy, but will also provide your skin, and body, with anti-aging benefits.
A regular sleep schedule is also extremely important for your skin…
Do you find it difficult to go to bed at the right time each night, so that you can enjoy eight hours of sleep?
It is easy to become distracted in the evenings, and find yourself staying up far later than you intended.
A great way to get around this is by setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed. Decide what time you need to wake up in the morning, and then count back eight hours or so from here, so that you can be certain that you will go to bed at a good time.
Quality sleep is so important for your skin for so many reasons, and also helps to keep the rest of your body functioning optimally too. If you know that you are missing out on quality sleep, there are many steps that you can take to change this, and the effort will most definitely be appreciated by your skin.