Hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, darker underage circles, paler skin, accentuated wrinkles and fine lines and more droopy corners of the mouth are just some of the obvious manifestations of just two days of sleep restriction, according to a 2017 Study by The Royal Society.
Getting your Beauty Rest is more than just a thing we say; it’s science! Sleep does wonders for the skin, the more the better. But a lack of sleep will deliver some negative effects: Skin that ages faster, doesn’t recover well from environmental stressors like sun exposure or sickness, and overall poor skin quality.
During the day skin cells are in defense mode, working to protect themselves from UV exposure and free radical damage. When the sun goes down, your mind and body switch into an active regeneration mode – repairing daytime damage and boosting the production of substances that protect and renew.
Here’s what happens when we sleep:
- The brain clears out waste products like amyloid beta (a substance associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease).
- Production of protective brain cells called oligodendrocytes ramps up.
- Memories are consolidated to enhance problem-solving and creativity.
- Melatonin, known for its antioxidant (a.k.a. anti-aging) properties, is produced at night.
- Levels of the stress hormone cortisol fall during sleep, which helps skin repair daytime damage.
- The body makes more collagen, which minimizes fine lines.
- More human growth hormone is released, increasing muscle mass and strengthening skin.
If you’re using moisturizers and skin or beauty treatments at night, they’ll work better when your skin is nourished and hydrated. Tired skin lacks both the proper circulation and hydrating properties to allow these products to work at their best.
Here are a few tips that will help your skin recover while you sleep:
- Avoid salty foods, alcohol and caffeine. It’s not a good idea to consume these before bedtime. Caffeine will prevent you from sleeping deeply, or at all. The alcohol dehydrates you, leading to puffy eyes. Salt also tends to have the same effect. If you do indulge, spend the night with your head elevated on a wedge pillow.
- Hydrate before going to bed. Drinking warm water before bed will keep you hydrated through the night and may help the body to rid itself of unwanted toxins.
- Clean your face and moisturize. Going to bed with a clean face is one of the easiest ways to prevent breakouts. Look for a face cream that has hyaluronic acid. This ingredient draws water to the skin’s surface, which helps produce a wrinkle-reducing effect.
- Wear your hair up. This helps keep the dirt and oils from your hair out of your face, while also preventing any breakage and tangling from your pillowcase fabric
- Lie on your back. Sleeping on your back helps you avoid putting pressure on one side of your face or worse, causing creases to develop.
- Sleep with a Humidifier. It helps counteract the dry air from heating during winter months.
- Change your pillowcases once a week. This helps prevent a buildup of dirt and bacteria that can clog your pores.
Finally, explore other alternative health modalities to help you regain your sleep: meditation, massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, sound therapy, essential oils — even exercise can help put the zzzz back to your nights.