We’re all looking for ways to slow the inevitable process of aging, but the solution may be simpler than you imagine: sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for optimal health – it’s when your body recovers from the stress and strain of the day. More than that, however, it’s when your skin repairs itself, boosting blood flow to the skin to deliver the oxygen and essential nutrients your skin needs.
Though there’s still a lot scientists don’t know about sleep, one thing is for certain – your body needs it. Without adequate sleep, you may start to look and feel older than you are, your cognitive function could become compromised, and you may have an increased risk for serious health problems.
The term “beauty sleep” is more than just a cliché. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, particularly for your skin.
Science-Backed Benefits of Sleep for Your Skin
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it depends on good circulation to get the oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood it needs for optimal health. Blood flow increases during sleep which plays a major role in the skin-related benefits of healthy sleep.
Here are five science-backed benefits of sleep for your skin.
1. Fewer fine lines and wrinkles
During the night, your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate fluctuate – your skin also becomes more permeable. Blood flow increases to the epidermis and collagen production rises as well, helping your skin rebuild and regenerate to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Applying skincare products like an anti-aging retinoid cream before bed can help you capitalize on the skin’s increased permeability overnight to maximize the benefits of restorative sleep.
2. Relief from puffy eyes and dark circles
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re likely to wake up with bags under your eyes or dark circles around them. Getting enough sleep is the best remedy for puffy eyes, but you can also try propping yourself up on a pillow to prevent blood from pooling under your eyes. Try something with cooling features like the Bear Pillow for added benefits.
3. Fewer acne breakouts and blemishes
Your body’s hormone production changes during sleep and if you don’t give yourself time for hormone levels to normalize, you could end up with hormonal imbalance. High levels of stress hormones like cortisol caused by sleep deprivation can increase your risk for acne breakouts. When you wake up to a face full of pimples, it can increase your stress and make matters worse. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep to relieve stress and reduce acne breakouts.
4. Protection from environmental stressors
When you’re asleep is when your skin has the time to repair itself from the environmental stressors of daily life. Sun, pollution, and other environmental stressors can wreak havoc on your skin and poor-quality sleep can impede the skin’s natural healing process. Just a few consecutive nights of good sleep can help your skin bounce back from environmental damage.
5. Improved complexion, more even skin tone
Blood flow increases throughout the body when you’re asleep, but particularly to your skin. Healthy blood flow supports healthy skin by increasing the delivery of oxygen and essential nutrients. This helps improve your complexion, banishing dull and uneven skin tone in favor of bright and glowing skin.
Other Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
In addition to supporting healthy skin, a good night’s sleep can promote healthy weight management. Sleep plays a role in regulating hormone production which can affect the way your body stores fat. One study found higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, were correlated with restricted sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may feel hungrier and end up eating more which, combined with increased fat storage, can result in unwanted weight gain.
Quality sleep is also essential for healthy cognitive function. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may find it harder to concentrate or make decisions. Sleep deprivation can affect your working memory and may even impair your ability to form strong long-term memories. It can also affect your wakefulness which could increase your risk for getting in an accident.
There’s a reason they call it “beauty sleep.” Getting a good night’s sleep, on the right mattress, gives your skin time to repair and regenerate so you wake up looking and feeling refreshed. Do yourself and your skin a favor by making sleep a priority in your life and aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night.