Beauty Sleep - Myth or Reality?

What is Beauty Sleep?

According to Wiktionary it is “sleep before midnight, on the belief that early sleep hours conduce to health and beauty”. Basically it captures the idea of getting sufficient sleep to keep one looking young and beautiful.

According to Lauren Hale, Ph.D., of the National Sleep Foundation adults over the age of 17 need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. There’s no exact figure as each of us is unique and individual but this is a guideline.

As most of us already know, getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health and well-being but did you know that it also has an impact on your skin?

A good night’s sleep can mean good skin health because the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) released into your body is kept to a minimum. When you are sleep-deprived, your body makes creates more of this hormone, elevated levels of which can lead to increased stress and inflammation in the body which negatively impact your skin.

Below are some of the ways in which getting a good night’s sleep, every night, can help you look younger for longer.


Brighter, less Puffy Eyes

Puffy eyes are one of the first noticeable signs of a poor night’s sleep.

As we sleep our body rebalances our hydration levels and processes excess water for removal. Not enough or poor sleep results in poor water balance and this, in turn, leads to puffy eyes (or bags under your eyes).

Sufficient sleep can also minimise dark circles under the eyes.

When you don’t get enough sleep, blood flow isn’t as efficient and the blood can collect under the eyes and become visible. Since the skin round our eyes is so thin, the collection of blood creates the appearance of dark circles.


Repaired Skin and Fewer Wrinkles

While we sleep there is an increased production of growth hormones.

For adults this increase enables damage cells to be repaired. If our bodies cannot produce enough of this growth hormone, then small damages to the skin cannot get repaired and these damages will accumulate over time. This can result in more noticeable signs of aging.

Additionally while we sleep, our skin produces collagen which prevents sagging and gives our skin bound and firmness. If our body cannot produce enough collagen our skin will become more wrinkled and aged, faster.


A Glowing Complexion

As you sleep, your body increases blood flow and the increased level of blood flow to the skin surrounding your face leads to a glowing complexion and rosy cheeks. When you’re sleep-deprived and blood hasn’t had the chance to flow properly, the skin on your face looks pale and ashen.

Also if you don’t get enough sleep at night, the inflammation levels in your body can rise. This can lead to a rise in the breakdown in collagen (which we know is important for repairing the bounce in skin) and hyaluronic acid which both attribute to your skin’s healthy glow and bounce.


Improves Skin Condition and Immune-Related Skin Problems

If you’re sleep-deprived, the inflammation in your body will rise and this can show up, on your skin, in the form of acne and increase skin sensitivity.

Additionally, increase inflammation levels means the body isn’t able to regulate its immune system as effectively. When it comes to immune-related skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, an unstable immune system can create flare-ups and increased irritation.


A Happier Appearance

If you are not able to get enough sleep at night, when you waken in the morning you may find that the corners of your mouth droop more and you appear to look sad. Sleep-deprived people tend to frown more too.

This sad appearance (as well as puffy eyes, dark circles) signal to others that you’re sleep-deprived and may attract comments such as “You look tired”.


Healthier Hair

A good night’s sleep means that blood flow is well-balanced. Our hair follicles (the living part of our hair where growth begins) receive the nutrients, minerals and vitamins they need for healthy growth. So when we are lacking in sleep, our hair struggles to get the nutrients etc it needs to grow and stay strong, full and healthy.

And lack of sleep can lead to more stress which in turn leads to an increase in the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and cortisol can lead to hair loss.


Your Skincare Products Work Better

If you sleep well your skin starts the day “in a good place” and can, therefore, gain better benefit from the beautiful ingredients in your skin products.

If you’re sleep-deprived and your skin isn’t looking at its best, sure your skincare products will help nourish your skin but you can’t expect miracles… you need to help your products by creating the best healthy skin platform.


Avoid Weight Gain

Science has proved that insufficient sleep can lead to over-production of the hormone, ghrelin, which is the appetite-inducing hormone that encourages you to snack more during the day. On the flip side, lack of sleep impedes the production of the hormone, leptin, which is the appetite-suppressing hormone.

Weight gain can affect the skin in a variety of ways:

  • Varicose veins may appear in your legs as a result of the strain of bearing excess weight.
  • Stretch marks may appear on the skin’s surface.
  • Creases in the skin can trap moisture which can attract bacteria, yeast and fungi to grow.
  • Weight gain can lead to corns on your feet as they rub more against your shoes as a result of the increased weight pressing down on your feet.

So How Do You Get A Good Night’s Sleep?

Here are a few tips to help you get a god night’s sleep and waken up feeling rested and looking good:

  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time every night even at weekends.
  • If you have a bad night’s sleep, try to make up for it by taking a short 20 minute nap before 4pm during the day. Don’t go to bed the following night any earlier than your normal schedule as this may actually make it harder to go to sleep, resulting in two nights of poor sleep.
  • Turn off all electronics 15 – 20 minutes before you’re ready to head to bed so you can begin to wind down. And keep all electronics outside the bedroom to avoid the temptation of using them before you go to sleep and to avoid blue radiation.
  • Introduce a wind-down period before you head to bed. This could include some light stretching, dimming the lights, or reading.
  • If you find you’re not asleep within 15 minutes of heading to bed, get up and do something relaxing such as reading for a short while before returning to bed. Don’t make the mistake of turning on the TV to relax as this is actually stimulating and could lead to a bad night’s sleep.