When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Does your skin look dull and splotchy? Are there dark circles blooming under your eyes? Although you may not feel like you need more sleep, your skin tells a different story.
How many times have you heard that you should get your beauty sleep? It turns out that there is a lot of truth to that adage. Sleep is essential for maintaining health and keeping our skin looking young and fresh. When we don’t get enough rest, it shows on our faces.
So, what about sleep is so good for our skin? For starters, sleep allows our bodies to repair themselves. Our body’s cells regenerate when we are asleep, and our skin produces more collagen. Collagen is a protein that helps keep our skin looking plump and smooth.
In addition to helping with cell regeneration, sleep also helps regulate hormones in the body which can cause visible changes in appearance. For example, when we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can break down collagen and lead to wrinkles and sagging skin. So getting enough rest is vital to keeping your skin looking its best.
Not getting enough sleep can cause your skin to age prematurely. You don't need to be a dermatologist to see it happening. The physical effects of lack of sleep are often severe and visible to the naked eye. These effects include wrinkles, acne, puffy eyes, and weight gain.
As we mentioned earlier, sleep promotes collagen production. Collagen is vital to stave off fine lines, wrinkles, and sallow, crepey skin. In addition to collagen, sleep also helps your skin retain moisture, which can prevent dryness and flakiness. A study on long-term sleep restriction found that after one day of sleep deprivation, skin hydration significantly reduced, and it continued to decrease.
Not getting enough shut-eye can also cause your skin to become more sensitive and reactive. Your body’s immune system isn’t as strong when you're tired. This can lead to inflammation and a decrease in the barrier function of the skin, which can make you more susceptible to developing eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.
In addition, when sleep-deprived, your body produces more cortisol. Again, too much cortisol can trigger changes in your skin's texture. However, that same cortisol can cause acne flare-ups by upping your skin's oil production.
Tiredness often leads to dehydration, which can cause the delicate skin under your eyes to become dry and wrinkled. Blood vessels dilate, which gives the appearance of dark circles. And if that wasn’t bad enough, lack of sleep can also cause fluid retention, which leads to puffiness around the eyes.
Sleep is important for maintaining a healthy weight, which can also affect the appearance of your skin. When you’re tired, you may be more likely to make unhealthy food choices and eat more calories than you would if you were well-rested. Besides a lack of motivation to eat better, sleep deprivation can actually cause changes in the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. These hormonal changes can lead to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.
In addition to affecting your appearance, sleep (or the lack thereof) can significantly impact your overall health. For example, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Sleep is also important for maintaining a healthy immune system. We've previously mentioned how a weakened immune system can harm your skin and affect your appearance, but your health may be damaged in other ways as well.
For example, you’re more likely to get sick when you don't get enough rest. Studies show if you routinely sleep less than seven hours per night, you're more susceptible to viruses than someone who's had a full night's rest.
And if you do happen to get sick, not getting enough sleep can make it harder for your body to fight off the infection. That’s because sleep plays a role in producing cytokines, which are proteins that help fight off infection and inflammation.
The health benefits of sleep can’t be ignored. Good sleep is essential if you care about your skin and overall health. Follow these tips to get the beauty rest you need:
You can find more tips for waking up refreshed on our sleep hygiene page.
If you're not getting the quality or quantity of sleep you need, the Sleep Reset app can help. We use multiple techniques to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I).
CBT-I is a research-backed approach that can be more effective than medication for treating insomnia. And it doesn't have any of the side effects associated with sleep medications.
Sleep Reset is matched to your needs and gets more effective over time. Take our Sleep Quiz to get personalized recommendations for better rest.