“The skin is the largest organ in the body. When your body is healthy it will manifest first by giving you a glowing, radiant complexion!” – Dermatologist Diane Berson
Do you want vibrant, healthy, younger looking skin? We have the answer for you: sleep! Not getting enough sleep not only leaves us tired, irritable and unable to concentrate on our daily routine, but it also has major effects on our skin. Getting the right amount of sleep is the most important step in your anti-aging skin care program, and is essential in looking your best at any age. The concept of “beauty sleep” is not an old wives’ tale, it’s true!
Lack of sleep affects our overall health, including the health of our skin. Too little sleep makes everyone look and feel tired, and the first place that it shows up is on the face. The most noticeable effects are seen in the area beneath our eyes: one of the most delicate areas on our bodies, where the skin is much thinner than other areas. Who wants the dark circles, puffy eye bags, fine lines, and wrinkles? Sufficient sleep is required to maintain a smooth skin texture and a healthy glow.
While we sleep, our bodies take time to restore energy and rebuild tissue and cells. During Delta Sleep, the fourth and deepest stage of rest, growth hormones peak and initiate cell and tissue repair. This regeneration is the process where fresh, new skin cells replace old, dead skin. Cortisol and insulin production inversely peak during sleeping hours, so that collagen production is accelerated and skin becomes firmer. The body also metabolizes free radicals, which accelerate aging and cancerous growths. During sleep, our facial muscles are relaxed, which allows the dermal layers of our skin to rejuvenate, thus helping to smooth wrinkles and fine lines. In addition, the lying-down position is opposite to the daily action of gravity on the skin, and this too helps in reducing the gravitational stress on our facial skin and aids in the reduction of lines and wrinkles on our face.
As our skin is being renewed and restored, some of the stress and harmful effects that we have obtained from daily living are being reversed, such as UV rays, pollution, and other harmful environmental elements. By not getting at least 8 hours of sleep, we are robbing our bodies of its natural process of self-renewal. In fact, a lack of sleep over the course of one single night can result in noticeable changes to the skin as immediately as the following morning. Over a longer period of time, a general lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems and can cause skin damage; wrinkles, poor texture, and discoloration much earlier in life than in the well-rested individual. Chronic sleep deprivation also impairs host defense so if the skin is exposed to bacteria or is healing from a lesion, lack of sleep will increase the amount of healing time required and may result in more severe bacterial skin infections.
One of the things that exacerbates acne is stress… and being sleep deprived causes your body to be in stress. In response, your body releases adrenaline, which will cause more acne breakouts. Sleep may also be related to acne if you go to bed with makeup on your face or products in your hair. If you sleep on your side or stomach with your face on the pillow, the greasy products can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Then, even if you do wash your face the next day, the products are already saturated into your pillowcase, which can potentially influence more breakouts or wrinkles. You should also be careful about sleeping on one side of your body rather than the other because laying on one side of your face every night can cause indentations or holes in the skin.
We all know that there are many things that can prevent you from obtaining the right amount of sleep each night. Whether it is a heavy workload, small kids who need attention, aging parents who need assistance, or general stress, there are many factors that contribute to our lack of sleep. Although many of these problems cannot simply be removed, some essential keys to sleeping well are: go to bed at the same time every night and wake up naturally at the same time every morning (including weekends), get your required amount of sleep in one continuous block, and make up for lost sleep as soon as possible. It would also be very beneficial to avoid caffeine after 2:00 PM, stay away from alcohol three hours before bed, quit smoking, and don’t nap unless you must. These keys will help you obtain the right amount of sleep, and aid you in maintaining a beautiful texture to your skin and a vibrant, healthy glow!
“The skin loses moisture overnight, which causes it to be more easily irritated and inflamed while you sleep. To prevent this from happening, apply a thin layer of moisturizer onto your skin before you go to bed.”
Dr. James B. Maas is a sleep educator/researcher who helped develop the Dr. Maas Sleep for Success line of pillows and comforters for United Feather and Down. He served for 48 years as professor, chair of Psychology and Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. He lectured about sleep to more than 65,000 undergraduates, several of whom are now sleep doctors.