Sleeping Your Way To Healthier Skin
Can't tell if those dark circles under your eyes are from too many late nights, moms side of the family, or just general aging? It may time to examine how your sleeping habits could be effecting your skincare.
Both men and women can experience signs of aging as early as their late 20's and early 30's but these changes don't necessarily have to do with your chronological age. During these years we are significantly affected by what is called 'photoaging', which mimes the effects of chronological aging such as wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and fine lines. Photoaging is a common response to exposure to harmful UV sun rays and other environmental pollutants such as smoke, smog, and dirt.
What most people don't know though is that we have control in helping the cause of major skin problems and photoaging, which is by regulating the amount of sleep we get each night. There has been an abundance of research conducted on the importance of sleep and the impact is has on skin. This research has concluded that without proper sleep, your skin could really suffer.
How Sleep Effects Your Skin
Skin cells regenerate at night, while you sleep so when you rob yourself of adequate sleep which equals out to between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep, you haven't given your body enough time to replace the skin cells that have been lost or damaged due to exposure to your environment and natural bodily processes.
A lack of sleep can also harm your skin's overall complexion and cause unevenness. Inadequate sleep can cause a decrease in blood flow to the skin. Proper blood flow helps your skin "glow" and it gives you those naturally rosy cheeks we love.
When you aren't receiving enough sleep, you may notice the appearance of your skin has dulled. You also might notice that you have dark circles or "bags" under your eyes after a restless night.
Stress is a common result of lacking sleep and this can exacerbate existing acne, blemishes, pimples or other skin problems such as psoriasis, alopecia, and dermatitis.
You can guarantee that almost everyone has dealt with acne or a break out to some degree at one point. In various studies it was shown that acne increased in severity and frequency when lack of sleep caused higher levels of stress. Stress induced by lack of sleep caused water loss, lower water retention ability, and impaired skin barrier function.
One of the main functions of our skin barrier to protect our bodies by repairing wounds when we've been injured. When stress caused by exhaustion occurs, that ability disappears making us more susceptible to infections.This often leads to an increased severity of infections at the wound site.
Long-term skin damage can occur due to chronic stress, which tends to suppress a person's immune system's response and can lead to higher risk for infections and a higher inflammatory response within the body.
This additional inflammatory response caused skin aging symptoms, including the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and a dull sheen to the skin. Currently, there is no recognized or proven treatment for stress-induced skin problems or the associated premature aging.
During your nightly regeneration of cells, your body also produces collagen as a part of this process while you're sleeping. Collage is what keeps skin looking plump, firm, and youthful. We begin to produce less and less collagen and other key proteins like elastin, as we enter our late 20's and early 30's. Lifestyle factors can also impact this nightly renewal process.
Collagen production is directly affected by sleep, and the lack of it. Your lack of sleep could be the cause of premature signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. This is because collagen formation is highly reliant on the immune-balancing process that occurs during those quality hours of sleep. Without that sleep the collagen formation is impaired, as if it were working with only one arm.
Collagen is vital when it comes to sealing in moisture and giving skin elasticity, providing a more youthful experience. When we interfere with the formation of collagen by not getting enough sleep, we submit ourselves to premature signs of aging.
Because collagen is the major part of the skin’s structure, it is integral in sealing in moisture and helping give skin its elasticity - both of which give skin a more youthful appearance. When collagen formation is impaired because of lack of sleep, premature skin aging appears. In fact, many studies have shown that long periods of sleep deprivation will trigger a break in the skin barrier, along with a negative impact on our skin’s integrity.
Another factor to consider is that a lack of sleep or a lack of quality sleep can also amount in stress, which can cause pimples, or acne break outs.
What We Recommend
So we know for sure that sleep-induced stress can impair skin processes and cause premature, unnecessary aging. So how much sleep do we need exactly to support day-to-day healthy skin?
Experts have asserted that all adults require a minimum of 7-9 hours per night of uninterrupted sleep. Children and teens require more sleep to keep up with their growing bodies and developing minds. As we reach our 60's and older, we need slightly less sleep. Here are a few tips to get your best sleep and best skin:
- Hone in on your nightly routine and try to go to bed at the same time each night.
- Don’t consume caffeine or other stimulants past the middle of the day.
- Try to avoid sugars within 3 to 4 hours of going to sleep.
- Limit the amount of time you are in front a TV, computer, or phone screen before bed.
There is no question that sleep-induced stress can impair skin function and cause premature aging. So how much sleep do you need?
Experts state that all adults require a minimum of 7-9 hours per night of uninterrupted sleep. Children and teens require more sleep to keep up with their growing bodies and minds. As we reach our 60's and older, we need slightly less sleep. Here are some tips to get your best sleep:
- To get uninterrupted sleep, develop a nightly routine that has you going to sleep at the same time each night.
- Don’t drink caffeine or other stimulants past mid-day.
- Avoid sugar within 3-4 hours of going to sleep.
- Eat dinner earlier in the evening. This gives your body a chance to digest your food before bed.
- Limit time in front of TV, computer, or phone screens before bed.
- Turn off the TV or any lights in the bedroom -- the darker the room, the better quality of sleep.
- Try sleeping on your back if you can, with your head elevated to reduce creases on your face and resulting puffiness.
Your Evening Skincare Lineup
Using the right, power-packed products before going to bed helps ensure that you will get the most out of your sleep for the night. You'll get the most results from your anti-aging products when your body is in renewal mode while you sleep.
Sleep helps heal a number of body issues, including the ones that impact our skin. At night, we get the maximum results from regenerating skincare products that include ingredients like glycoin, aloe vera, and cucumber. This is because there's no sunlight around to break down the vital components of these ingredients and they have full reign to perform their actions.
Night time is also a good time to apply moisturizers and serums to your skin because your skin loses moisture a lot during the night. We don't have as much of a protective layer of natural oils on our skin, making it harder for us to retain water and moisture. A good moisturizer or serum before bed can minimize this loss of water at night.
In addition to losing water through your skin, the temperature of your skin also changes, becoming hotter and drier. Many dermatologists recommend using a heavier cream during the night to diminish this effect.
One other benefit of using skincare products every night is that you aren't exposing your skin to environmental toxins at that time - like smoke, sunlight UV rays, or pollution. This gives your skin time to recover and rejuvenate without being bombarded by those environmental pollutants. And if you have sun spots or age spots, you won’t be battling the sun which tends to degrade potent actives like vitamin C that you would use to diminish them.
So, get your beauty sleep and don't skip that nighttime skincare routine so you can keep putting your best, most natural face forward!