The Science Behind Getting Your Beauty Sleep

science behind beauty sleep

Sleep Your Way to Healthier, Beautiful Skin?...

We've all heard that we need to get our "beauty sleep" but often chalk it up to being an old cliché of years gone by. Sure, we feel better when we get a good night's sleep, but does it actually have an effect on how we look or the health of our skin?

The answer is yes, it does, and there is a lot of science to back it up. If you’ve been cheating yourself on getting enough hours of sleep every night, here are all the science-backed reasons that beauty sleep is important, along with the effects it can have on skin health and appearance.

Are You Stressing Your Skin Out?! The Science Behind Beauty Sleep...

If you just feel like you look better after a good night’s sleep, we want to tell you that it’s not all in your head. Getting good quality sleep on a regular basis has a direct impact on the health and appearance of your skin, along with your general perception of how you feel about your appearance.

Maybe you’ve seen this in yourself or noticed it with someone else. During times of stress or sleep disturbances, our skin health seems to take a nosedive. The skin looks less vibrant, the texture seems less even, and signs of aging that didn’t previously exist might suddenly appear.

Your skin can likely recover from a night or two of bad sleep, but chronic sleep disturbances can have a very real and very profound effect on your skin.

During the time that you’re asleep, the body is hard at work repairing damaged skin cells and creating new ones. The level of cell rejuvenation and cellular turnover is amped up when you sleep because your body is taking a rest from all of the work it does while you’re awake.

In addition to your body needing this valuable "downtime," there's also the issue of cortisol and how it affects the appearance of your skin. Being sleep-deprived is a stressful situation for your body, and this often causes cortisol levels to rise.

Cortisol is a stress hormone, and even though it has a nasty reputation, it’s also very important. The thing is that there’s a place and time for cortisol, and too much of it constantly streaming through your body from lack of sleep is pure havoc on your skin, not to mention your health in general.

The negative skin effects of too much cortisol can include:

  • Acne
  • Oiliness
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Skin Rashes
  • Inflammation
  • Dryness
  • Premature Aging
  • Accelerated Signs of Aging

How Many Hours of Beauty Sleep Do You Need?...

The amount of sleep we need throughout our lives is fluid, changing as we age. We start out as newborns, sleeping practically the entire day, but somewhere around the teen years is when our sleep patterns seem to change.

Teens need about 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and adults need at least 7 hours, but preferably more. The problem is that so many of us develop poor sleeping habits in early adulthood that tend to stick with us. Later on in life, factors such as family life, job stress, and just overall life stress, in general, can have a continued impact on not only how much we sleep but also the quality of the sleep we're getting.

Each person has different sleep needs, but even with that, there's a window you need to hit. Seven hours really is the minimum that your body needs to do all the important work that’s done while you’re at rest. Even if you feel fine after six hours, you’re cheating yourself out of all the restorative and healing benefits of adequate sleep.

What if you're hitting that seven-hour mark but still don't feel completely rested when you wake up? It's entirely possible that you need to be adding another hour or two to your time in slumberland.

According to the Sleep Foundation, along with other sources, there are a few factors to consider when determining if you’re getting enough sleep:

  • Do you find that you feel productive and happy with the amount of sleep you’re getting?
  • Do you perform better when you allow yourself extra sleep?
  • Do you have any health issues that could be caused by or eased by a change in sleep patterns?
  • Are you someone who is at a higher risk of disease?
  • Do you have a sustainable level of energy throughout the day?
  • Do you need more sleep due to a physically active lifestyle or a physically demanding job?
  • Do you rely on caffeine or other stimulants to get through the day?
  • Do you try to “catch up” on sleep during your days off?
  • Do you have a history of sleep problems?

Keep in mind that spending eight hours in bed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting quality sleep.

If you're tossing and turning, waking frequently, or having trouble falling or staying asleep, it's important to speak with a medical care professional to help you assess the reasons behind your sleep disturbances and look for solutions. 

Better Skin, Just By Sleeping?...

There really is no way to overstate the importance of proper sleep for your health. You’ll look and feel better after a good night of sleep. However, if we’re looking only at the skin benefits of adequate sleep, here are a few of the most noticeable and important effects of quality sleep on your skin. 

Fewer Wrinkles

Wrinkles are caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin. This is a natural process that occurs as we age, but not getting enough sleep deprives your body of necessary cellular repair and increased cortisol levels –both of which lead to premature and accelerated aging. 

More Radiant Skin

A good night of sleep leaves your skin looking more radiant in the morning. Cell turnover that happens at night results in a clearer, brighter complexion come morning time. Taking time for a nighttime skincare routine will only make this effect more noticeable. 

Reduces Undereye Puffiness

The eyes are one of the first places that we see signs of a sleepless night. Puffiness and dark circles from little blood vessels under the delicate undereye skin area make us look as tired as we feel. Puffiness and dark circles are less common after at least 7-8 hours of sleep. 

Fewer Breakouts & Clear Complexion

Excess cortisol that builds up when we suffer from chronic lack of sleep can cause so many problems for your skin. For starters, cortisol increases the production of skin oils and inflammation. Both of these factors increase the likeliness of acne and more severe breakouts. 

Improved Skin Care Performance

Because nighttime is when the most skin repair and rejuvenation happens, any skincare products, you use become more effective when combined with a good night of sleep. 

Create a Nightly Routine for the Best Quality Sleep

One of the best ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep is to establish a regular nightly routine that includes a dedication to your favorite high-quality skincare. Take steps like washing your face before bed, changing your bed linens regularly, turning off the screens, and doing something nightly that relaxes you. Your skin will thank you for it. 

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