Woman resting in bed with a sleeping mask

Beauty sleep is a term that couldn’t be more true…

During the day, your skin works hard at protecting itself from environmental damage. However, at night, when you are sleeping, your skin cells turn their focus to healing and regenerating itself, with production of collagen and elastin significantly increasing through the night. 

This may seem hard to believe, but your skin really does need you to be getting proper sleep in order for it to thrive. 

Want to help your skin with all of its many jobs each night? 

Here are seven ways to improve the health of your skin while you sleep. 

Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Deep Sleep

You may think that you can catch up on lost sleep at night by taking a few quick naps through the day, but what your skin really needs is for you to be in the deep stages of sleep. 

What exactly is this? 

Your sleep cycle consists of five different stages:

  • Stage One and Two: this is when you first fall asleep, and the quality of sleep at this time accounts for around 50% of your overall sleep cycle 
  • Stages Three and Four: this is when you experience deep sleep, and it lasts for up to 90 minutes 
  • Stage Five/ REM: this is when your brain and body slowly start to wake up 

infographic on sleep cycle

So, how do you know if you have been sleeping deeply? 

Signs such as dreaming, or failing to wake up even when there has been a loud noise, point towards you being in a deep sleep. 

It can sometimes be easier to figure out when you are not getting enough deep sleep, because you will experience some of the following symptoms: 

  • Grogginess in the mornings 
  • The need to nap during the day 
  • Hunger cravings throughout the day 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Weight gain 
  • Reduced sex drive

Wondering how to help your body fall into the deep stage of sleep more efficiently? 

Here are a few tips: 

  • Bedroom temperature – your body needs to cool down in order to properly fall asleep, so try to keep your bedroom temperature cool 
  • Reduce distractions – from digital screens to noises and lights from outside, try to reduce the amount of distractions you experience while you sleep 
  • Comfort – making your bed a comfortable haven, with a quality mattress and pillows, can help to induce a deep sleep 

You can also try downloading a sleep app onto your phone. This will help to track how you sleep throughout the night, and will make it much easier for you to visibly look at your sleep cycle. This will then enable you to see exactly where improvements can be made. 

Use an Overnight Face Mask

Overnight face masks are the perfect way to really pamper your skin while you snooze. 

Never used one before? 

Unlike the sheet or clay masks that are commonly used during the day, overnight face masks are more like moisturizers in texture, meaning that they won’t mess up your sheets. 

They are so easy to use – simply apply one before you go to bed, after you have carried out the rest of your skin care routine, and then rinse it off in the morning. 

Why would you want to use one? 

They are extremely hydrating, and also contain concentrated ingredients. Since these masks are designed to be used overnight, their ingredients will reflect your skin’s needs at this time.

Develop a Night Time Skin Care Routine

You likely already have a skin care routine that you follow in the mornings, and while this will usually be adequate for the evenings too, a dedicated night time skin care routine could really benefit your skin while you sleep. 

How? 

By giving your skin the specific ingredients that it needs in order to carry out its nightly tasks. 

Of course, before applying any products to your skin, you need to first cleanse. Over the course of the day, so much dirt, bacteria, oil, dead skin cells and more will have built up on the surface of your skin. 

This will all be blocking the entrance to your pores, meaning that any products you apply over the top of all of this will not be able to properly penetrate into your skin. 

Cleansing clears all of this away, leaving your skin so much more receptive to skin care products. 

Exfoliation can also be helpful before you go to bed. This cleans out the inside of your pores, removing any unwanted particles that have settled within them and would have otherwise caused a blockage. 

When it comes to your serums and moisturizers, it is important to pay attention to the active ingredients within these. 

Here is an example of a combination of ingredients perfect for while you sleep: 

  • Retinol this is one of the most powerful and multi-functional skin care ingredients available, but breaks down in sunlight. For this reason, it should form part of your night, and not your day, routine
  • Vitamin C – helps with the skin cell turnover process, which happens most at night, while also fighting free radicals and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin 
  • Vitamin E – helps both retinol and vitamin C to work better, while also healing skin cells and encouraging their production 

Young smiling woman applying moisturiser to face in the bathroom

As you can see, the above-three ingredients work together in so many ways, and there are so many other potent combinations just like that. 

A facial oil can also be helpful at the end of your night time skin care routine. 

Why? 

Because your skin uses up quite a bit of moisture while you sleep, and a facial oil is fantastic for helping the skin to better retain moisture. It forms a film over the skin’s surface, essentially blocking moisture from evaporating, while also preventing unwanted particles from entering into the skin. 

Invest in a Humidifier

Humidifiers may not seem like much, but these devices can make a world of difference to your skin. 

How? 

Because they add moisture back into the air. This reduces the amount of moisture lost from your skin through evaporation. This water loss is one of the main causes of dry skin, which is why so many with this skin type experience even more dryness first thing in the morning. 

If you have dry skin, then a humidifier would be especially beneficial to you. 

Humidifiers are available in just about every shape and size, to suit every budget, so you will no doubt be able to find something you like. Many of them also allow you to add essential oils in with the water, giving your skin the added benefit of soothing scents in the air.

Don’t forget…

Keeping your skin moisturized will give your skin an added layer of protection against moisture loss, and will really help to combat dryness while you sleep. 

Use Silk or Satin Pillowcases

Silk or satin pillowcases may seem like an extravagant luxury, but these fabrics can really help to improve your skin while you sleep. 

How? 

Well, with cotton pillowcases, or those of a similar feel, friction is caused when your skin rubs against them. This constant friction ends up stretching your skin over time, resulting in wrinkles and folds. 

With silk or satin, your face simply glides over the fabric and no friction is experienced. 

Satin pillow

One more thing to keep in mind when it comes to your bedding…

It is so important to keep this clean. Even if you thoroughly cleanse your face at the end of each day before getting into bed, your bedding, especially your pillowcases, will still end up home to germs, oil, dead skin cells and more. Each night when you go to bed, all of this comes back into contact with your face, resulting in breakouts and other skin issues. 

Wondering how often you should be putting on fresh, clean bedding?

Every 48 hours, at least for your pillowcases. 

Adjust Your Sleeping Position

Which position do you usually sleep in? 

If your answer is on your stomach…

This position puts so much stress on your skin, pushing your face up and contributing to fine lines and wrinkles on your forehead. Puffiness around your eyes will also likely be common. 

If you sleep on your side…

This can lead to the formation on wrinkles on the side of your face that you tend to sleep on. It can also exacerbate lip lines and frown lines, while causing loose skin on your décolletage. 

As you have probably guessed by now, the best position to sleep in is on your back. 

This prevents any friction or pressure from being placed on your skin. To minimize any puffiness, place an extra pillow underneath your head too – the more you elevate your head, the less fluid will build up around your eyes while you sleep. 

Keep rolling over in the middle of the night? 

Try using a body pillow, or simply placing some standard pillows strategically around you. This will prevent you from rolling on your stomach, making it much more likely that you will stay on your back the entire night. 

Try a Facial Massage

Not only is a facial massage incredibly calming, but it also helps to prepare the skin for all of the tasks that lie ahead. A gentle but firm massage will stimulate the blood vessels beneath the skin while potentially also helping to reduce inflammation, all of which will enable it to function optimally. 

Ideally, you don’t want to be massaging dry skin, as this will only cause you to tug and stretch at your skin. 

Instead, try giving yourself a facial massage during your night time skin care routine, massaging a serum into your skin. Alternatively, save the massage for the end, when you use a facial oil, as this will enable your fingers to easily glide over your skin. 

Another benefit of a facial massage at night? 

It will help all of the other products you have applied, or are going to apply, be absorbed into your skin much more effectively. 

Want to give this a try but don’t know how? 

Here are a few different facial massage techniques to try:

  • For forehead lines and wrinkles – place your thumb above each temple and hold your first three fingers together. Massage your forehead in gentle circular motions, taking your fingers upwards and outwards from in between your eyebrows. Repeat this for about a minute 
  • For puffy eyes – beginning at the inner corner of each eye, sweep your fingers up over your brow bones, to the edge of your eyes, and then back in to the inner corners. Try to do this ten times, with your pressure becoming deeper each time 
  • For undefined cheeks – massage your way to a face lift by placing your middle and index fingers at the base of your cheekbones. Use a gentle kneading motion to push upwards, moving your way up to your hairline. Do this ten times in a row to help sculpt your cheeks 
  • For a sagging jawline – place your thumbs underneath your chin, with your index fingers at the base. Make small and gentle pinching motions with your hands, doing this across your jawline up to your ears. Then, turn around and do the same thing back to where you started. Aim to do this five times, twice a week, to keep your lymph nodes clear 

Woman giving herself a face massage

You may think that your skin doesn’t need an extra help while you are sleeping, and, in a way, this is true. Your skin will still carry on functioning at night without all of the above, but surviving is completely different to thriving. If you want your skin to really flourish, with a youthful clearness, smoothness and vibrancy, it really will pay off to spend some time supporting all that your skin does while you sleep.