Yes, you really do need your beauty sleep. This isn’t just a silly catch-phrase. Lack of sleep takes a toll on the skin’s health and physical appearance. Skin gets stressed out, too. If you spent the whole night tossing and turning, or you crawled into bed three hours before your alarm was set to go off, you can expect to wake up to breakouts, puffiness, dark circles, uneven pigmentation, and more visible fine lines. During the day, skin protects itself from environmental factors like ultraviolet exposure, free radical damage, and pollution. When sleeping, skin repairs and regenerates itself and serums and creams work on a cellular level.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 35% of Americans say they sleep less than seven hours in a 24-hour period. Medical researchers say for optimal health benefits it’s recommended you clock seven to nine hours of sleep a night, so your brain and memory stay sharp and you have enough energy to function at your best. Doctors say a lack of sleep can cause serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and obesity. It has been reported in every health and fitness magazine that the stress hormone cortisol can cause weight gain, especially around the midsection. And, with age, it’s only harder to fight. It can also cause premature aging.
Doctors say high cortisol levels can interfere with how well the body heals and repairs daytime skin damage. It also contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Collagen makes up about 80% of the skin and is an important protein that helps skin look young. When collagen becomes jeopardized it stiffens and fine lines appear. Elastin helps the skin stay firm, flexible (think elastic), and able to bounce back, while combatting the effects of gravity. More human growth hormone is released at night, stimulating cell production, increasing muscle mass, and strengthening skin. When you don’t sleep, your body doesn’t make as much human growth hormone, so your skin won’t be as thick. Lower levels of cortisol allow the skin to regenerate and protect itself.
If you’re tired of the sleep conversation, do something to get more shuteye. Doing so, will optimize nighttime skin recovery. Some beneficial actions induce shutting down all electronics, soaking in a warm bath, spraying some lavender on one’s pillow, and massaging the tension spots on one’s face. Sleep is a science, but it’s not rocket science. Do it and you will smile at that gorgeous face staring back at you in the mirror.