You’ve probably had more than a few weeks when you just couldn’t get enough sleep. Maybe it was a big project, a late night at work, or you tossed and turned all night. Turns out, missing even 2 hours of sleep a week can have a detrimental impact on your skin.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it causes a stress reaction in your body. Stress results in the production of excess cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol blocks the production of collagen, which your body needs. Without it, your skin loses elasticity and becomes dull and dry.
This is why after a long night out, you wake up to skin with larger pores, redness, and an increase in wrinkles. Don’t believe it? Keep reading.
Lack of Sleep and Your Skin
There’s research to back up the link between lack of sleep and poor skin health. Researchers worked with a test group of 30 volunteers to test the effects of not getting enough sleep. The participants first slept for 8 hours. The next day, researchers took their pictures and tested their skin with a Visia machine, which is used to measure pores, red spots, and bacteria. The volunteers also answered a survey about their well-being and self-esteem.
For the next 5 nights, the women in the study slept only 6 hours a night. At the end of the time period, the researchers performed the same tests. The survey results indicated that the participants’ levels of self-esteem had decreased by 20%. They also reported feeling less attractive by 33% more than the first survey.
Images from the Visia testing showed a 45% increase in wrinkles and an 8% increase in red spots.
Take a look at the pictures below:
Left: 8 hours of sleep
Right: 6 hours of sleep
As you can see, the images clearly show how missing just a few hours of sleep in the week can affect your skin. That said, this study does have some drawbacks. Specifically, the researchers not only used a relatively small sample size but were paid by Benson for Beds, a mattress sales company.
Beauty Sleep for Healthy Skin
The old adage is true, “Get your beauty sleep!” The reason sleep is so important for healthy skin is that your body repairs itself while you sleep. If you don’t get the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night, your body doesn’t have enough time to do everything it needs. This can leave you looking tired, run-down, and generally unhealthy.
Here are some of the things that happen while you sleep:
1. Collagen Production
As part of the recovery process, your body produces more collagen while you rest. As previously mentioned, collagen helps fill in wrinkles by plumping up your skin. Fewer wrinkles mean you look younger and healthier
2. Increased Blood Flow
Your blood flow also increases as you sleep, leaving you with a beautiful, bright complexion. According to Michael Breus, PhD and Board Certified Sleep Specialist, “Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin surrounding your face. Skin becomes dull and you don’t get those rosy cheeks anymore.” Nobody wants that.
3. Reduces Dark Circles Under Your Eyes
Other benefits of getting enough sleep include reduced bags and dark circles under your eyes. When you don’t sleep enough, the decreased blood flow tends to show under your eyes – giving you dark circles. Besides getting enough sleep, you can also make sure your skin is hydrated and sleep on an elevated pillow to reduce bags.
How to Improve Sleep Quality
If your problem is tossing and turning at night, there are some things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Try to avoid caffeine at least 4 to 6 hours before going to bed. Remember, caffeine can be found in coffee, chocolate, and even some pain medicines. Also, make sure your bedroom is a relaxing and calming environment. This means, no tv’s, no computers, and no pets. Keep it dark, cool, and quiet.
To make sure you’re getting quality sleep, try a sleep app like SleepBot. With this application, you can track your motions through the night and find out if you snore, sleep talk, or roll around. Other similar apps include: MotionX and Sleep Cycle. Both of these allow you to set an intelligent alarm to wake you up when you need it.
Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via cdn.pixabay.com
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