In my post Why Sleep? I touched on some of the ways that sleep (or lack of sleep) can have an impact on your physical appearance. But in this post, I want to go into a little more detail about the many benefits of sleep on your skin and help you get the most out of your beauty sleep!
I thought we would start off with the foundation of beauty which is your skin!
Our skin is our body’s largest organ and our first line of defense against the outside environment.
Our skin helps us maintain a barrier against harmful substances, excrete toxins and maintain body temperature through sweat. It also provides immune support and of course allows for sensation.
So as you can see our skin is very important, not only in regards to our appearance, but really in our overall health.
So it’s just as important for us to properly care for our skin and believe it or not, one of the most important ways to do that is by getting enough sleep.
Have you ever awakened from a late night with minimal sleep and noticed how… well, ruddy and dull your skin looked? I know I have (they call it beauty sleep for a reason!)
Or how, after a night of poor sleep, you have to use just a little more concealer than normal? And how your colleagues and peers can often tell when you’ve had a rough night?
Well, that’s because sleep plays a big role in the appearance of your complexion. You see, your skin regenerates and renews itself overnight. Just like with our minds, this is prime time for skin health.
By skimping on your sleep, you interfere with this process and end up with a more dull and lifeless complexion; really taking away from your beautiful natural glow.
By consistently getting an adequate amount of sleep, you’re giving your skin the tools it needs to be the best it can be and help you to wake up feeling beautiful.
Sleep deprivation also puts your body into a “high-stress state” and leads to increased inflammation which can trigger some not so pretty skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
This is especially important when it comes to acne which is such a common and potentially distressing skin condition.
In addition to creating an inflammatory environment, a lack of sleep can also lead to a weakening of the immune system which is the perfect set-up for bacteria to invade the skin and cause further breakouts.
The barrier function of your skin also breaks down due to sleep deprivation. Some studies in rats have even demonstrated severe skin breakdown and ulcers with excessive sleep deprivation. Crazy right?
Let’s not forget the function sleep plays in aging. Inadequate sleep leads to an increase in the production of the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.
These are the 2 proteins that are needed to build skin elasticity. Breakdown of these proteins leads to more wrinkles and sagging skin. It can also cause thinning of the skin which makes wrinkles more apparent.
Sleep deprivation can also cause the blood vessels under the eyes to weaken and dilate leading to those awful dark circles.
And again, your skin repairs and rejuvenates overnight, working to repair the damage done to the skin from UV light and other potentially harmful substances. Repairing this damage overnight can help reduce the formation of age spots and wrinkles.
So what are some ways to really take advantage of your beauty sleep?
Well, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep consistently. If you’re struggling with insomnia or just want some tips and tricks to ensure you’re getting adequate sleep, see my post How Can I Cure My Insomnia: 7 Tips to Ensuring A Good Night’s Sleep
Now, the good news is after you have settled into a nice sleep schedule, you can let sleep do its job and will be well on your way to healthy and better-looking skin!
And the even better news is that there are things that you can do to supplement this process.
As your body naturally gets to work on improving that elasticity while you sleep, you can make that process even better by applying an under eye cream or serum that is packed with collagen and Vitamin C, (which also encourages the production of collagen).
Some creams also include caffeine which can brighten those dark circles.
Again, the eye cream or serum alone is definitely no substitute for a good night’s sleep. But together they make an excellent wrinkle fighting team.
Another good combination is an exfoliator and face cream to help remove dead skin cells and hydrate your skin to help you get that glow.
Again, your skin regenerates overnight, allowing for the production and exposure of new healthy skin cells. You can also get a night cream with retinol in it to help fight fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep.
Night creams like these will typically be thicker than daytime moisturizers and contain ingredients that improve the skin’s natural restorative functions that happen while you sleep.
Using these 2 products at bedtime can help boost that process and lead to overall healthy radiant looking skin.
For a really hydrating and restorative experience, you can use a sleep mask, which is a mask that you wear all night while you sleep. Similar to night creams, these masks are very hydrating and can have added ingredients such as retinol or hyaluronic acid which help your skin look and feel more supple.
So, we’ve learned all the many benefits and ways that sleep is essential to our skin; in not only it’s appearance but it’s overall health.
And although there is nothing that can make up for sleep, the right products can certainly help boost the process and help you sleep your way to a better looking you!