We talk a lot on this blog about how sleep (or a lack thereof) affects overall health. While these topics are crucially important, there is another, perhaps less-often-addressed way that a lack of sleep affects your body, and it’s one that most would prefer to avoid: it can give you bad skin. Before you order another mystery cream or start a new skincare regimen, it’s important to know that higher-quality sleep might be all you need to achieve younger, more vibrant skin. Keep reading to learn more about sleep tips that can directly and positively improve your skin.
How Sleep Affects Your Skin
Our bodies repair themselves at night while we sleep, and this includes our skin. During the day, the skin is in “defense mode,” warding off UV rays and pollutants. Nighttime is the skin’s opportunity to regenerate. When this reparative process is lacking due to a night (or several) of poor sleep, your skin starts to show it. Here’s how:
- Undereye Bags & Puffiness: Too little sleep causes the blood vessels under your eyes to dilate, creating those dark bags. Staying up late can also cause dry, irritated eyes, which can contribute to eye puffiness in the AM.
- Acne: When the body experiences a lack of sleep, inflammation increases, which can contribute to acne as well as overall skin blotchiness.
- Exacerbated Skin Conditions: For those with psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea, it is especially important to get enough sleep in order to decrease inflammation that makes these conditions worse. Additionally, a lack of sleep can increase stress, also aggravating these issues.
- Dull Skin: While asleep, your body increases blood flow to the skin, giving it a healthy, attractive glow. On the other hand, a lack of sleep decreases blood flow, making your skin look lifeless and dull.
- Dry Skin: A lack of sleep is associated with “transepidermal water loss,” or water that evaporates from the skin’s surface, resulting in dryer skin and more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles.
- Aging: Speaking of fine lines and wrinkles, there’s another way that a lack of sleep can contribute to skin aging: decreased collagen production. Collagen is responsible for keeping hair, skin, and nails healthy and strong. During rest, your body releases human growth hormone, which is essential for collagen production. Without enough sleep, cortisol (the main stress hormone) rises, halting collagen, which makes your skin appear less youthful overall.
Tips for Helping Your Skin Get the Most Out of Sleep
Fortunately, adjusting your sleep so your skin gets maximum benefit isn’t complicated. All you need to do is:
- First and foremost – get ENOUGH sleep! This is the most important rule for waking up with healthy skin. Adults need 7-9 hours. If 7-9 hours of sleep is not your current reality, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you’re giving yourself enough time to wake up refreshed.
- Be sure to wash your face and moisturize before bedtime.
- Use a silk pillowcase — this can help prevent wrinkles as well as hair breakage.
When to See a Doctor
For many people, simply “getting enough sleep” is next to impossible, and not just because of their sleep habits. Often, an underlying disorder, like sleep apnea, is the issue. Unlike dry skin, this isn’t the kind of problem a cream can solve!
If you snore every night, always feel tired in the morning, frequently wake up with sore throats/headaches, and experience mental fog or mood swings, then you should definitely schedule a FREE sleep apnea screening with Dr. Jeff Rodgers. He’s a sleep expert who has over two decades of experience right here in Atlanta, and if he believes you have sleep apnea, he can help you get a proper diagnosis and provide a custom-made oral appliance that enables you to get the rest you need night after night. And of course, as we touched on above, this will lead to you having healthier, younger-looking skin (without all the expensive creams and complicated routines)!