You know that a good night’s sleep gives you the energy you need to get through the day and function at your best. You may also know that getting enough rest can help you manage your stress and reduce your risk for serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
What you might not realise? Sleep can have a big effect on your appearance. Here’s how too little shuteye can wreck your skin and your appearance overall - and how logging enough hours at rest can help you look your best.
Circadian Rhythms and Your Skin
Circadian rhythms are periods of biological activity that occur when you’re awake and asleep, controlled by the way the body’s biological clock responds to light and dark.
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. In particular, collagen is produced during sleep - which is what minimizes fine lines, and prevents premature aging of the skin.
What Happens To My Skin While I'm Sleeping?
During the first three hours of sleep your body will start producing the human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. As we age, this hormone is necessary for the maintenance of youthful and radiant skin, as it increases muscle mass and strengthens the elasticity of our skin. Without this hormone release, skin is not repaired from daily damage and thus induces the aging process.
The middle two hours of sleep is when melatonin is increased. Melatonin is a hormone that is responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake patterns) but also acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damaging.
Finally, in the final three hours, or during the active REM sleep stage, levels of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) decrease. This is what helps repair any damage from the day time. The skin’s temperature also drops to its lowest point allowing muscles to relax and become immobile, giving skin its deepest recovery of the night.
Sleep For Hydration
Fact: sleep provides a better moisturiser than any thing you could find at Sephora. As you snooze, your skin’s collagen production increases, plumping cells and helping your skin’s lipids - the protective barrier found in the outermost layer - retain moisture, a key part of avoiding dryness. Most simply, hydrated skin remains firm and intact, reducing the appearance of fine lines and leaving you with a healthy-looking complexion that’s smooth and soft to the touch.
Sleep and Skin Conditions
The relationship between skin health and lack of quality sleep can be a vicious cycle, especially with conditions like atopic dermatitis or eczema, which can lead to scratching even through the night, recent research published in the journal Clinics in Dermatology showed.
Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis - which can result in increased itching, which can disrupt sleep. As the cycle continues, skin conditions and sleep quality can increasingly worsen together. In contrast, skin conditions and sleep quality can also improve together. Getting a good night's sleep will help to clear up skin, which allows sleep to improve and, in turn, will improve skin health.
We know that sleep is an essential part of our beauty routine - but where do we start if we want a good night's rest to keep it hydrated and healthy? Try our guide to building a sleep ritual and notice the difference for yourself!