Truth: The biggest secret to better skin and positive aging is getting enough beauty sleep. After all, sleep is when the most critical internal—and epidermal!—recovery takes place.
There is endless research showing us clearly that inadequate sleep leads to health issues for the whole body. We know, for example, that lack of shuteye affects your mental abilities and emotional wellbeing, and also stops your immune system from staying strong. On the digestive system, not enough sleep can also toy with your digestive system. Without enough ZZZs, your brain produces less leptin, the hormone that regulates feelings of fullness, and increases ghrelin, the appetite stimulant hormone. And we also know that people who don’t sleep enough are more prone to cardiovascular disease.
What About the Skin?
Though the effects of sleep deprivation on mental health, digestive and cardiovascular systems, and even weight loss are well documented, there’s less talk about the impact on perceptions of beauty and, more acutely, on the skin.
American researchers from Case Western University found that poor sleep quality sped up the process of intrinsic aging, the natural decline of the condition of your skin. The same study also found an impact on self-esteem: Those who suffered from regular lack of sleep were unhappy with their looks. The findings of Swedish researchers might also compound feelings of self-doubt: People perceive those who are sleep deprived as less healthy and less attractive.
What Dermatologists Say
If you ask any dermatologist, they’ll explain that repose gives your skin a chance to repair itself from its battle against environmental stressors. When you don’t rest adequately, you can end up with puffiness, dark under-eye circles, paler skin, and dryness. That leads to exaggerated wrinkles and other accelerated signs of aging. To make matters worse, poor sleep often leads to increased cortisol production and that leads to inflammation.
It isn’t a pretty picture, is it?
Turning It Around
The good news is that when you do prioritize your rest, you will reap the health and beauty benefits and help boost the positive effects of your regular skincare.
Here are some actionable steps you can take to improve your beauty sleep and optimize your skin:
1. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. This could include stretching, listening to soothing music, writing in a journal, or simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes.
2. Block the light. Consider having blackout curtains or use a sleep mask like the EnVY Copper Sleep Mask. When it’s dark, your pineal gland will produce melatonin, which tells your body to sleep.
3. Turn off your electronics. Your tablet or cell phone emits blue light and that also suppresses your melatonin. So power down at least an hour before you head to bed and try to keep your room free from any electronics.
4. Get some peace and quiet. A sleep positive bedroom is one that is noise-free. But if you can’t eliminate all sources of noise—cars or barking dogs, for example—drown them out with a fan or white noise machine. Earplugs or headphone work too.
5. Introduce pleasant smells. A light, calming, natural smell can help you ease into sleep. Lavender essential oil is a good choice!
6. Invest in your sleep zone. A comfy mattress with quality pillows and bedding will set the tone for sending you off to dreamland.
7. Control the climate. If you feel too hot or too cold, you won’t sleep well. Most research shows the ideal temperature to be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or around 18 Celcius.
8. Avoid alcohol. Having a nightcap may help you fall asleep more quickly but it also can interfere with your slumber because it suppresses your REM sleep cycle which affects learning, memory, and mood (not to mention your physical and mental health).
From a balanced body to a happier mind to healthier skin, the science backs up the benefits of getting your beauty sleep. If you struggle to get enough shuteye, consider incorporating some or all of the tips we suggest. Your body, brain, and skin will thank you!
Be Beautiful Medical is on a mission to help you look and feel your best. Reach out to us with your questions. We’re here to help!