In this article:
You may or may not have heard of the phrase, “beauty sleep.” What does it really mean? Does it exist? It is said that sleep is an important part of maintaining youth and beauty. While sleep re-energizes the body, what does it do for your appearance? We delve into this mythical topic to find out.
AMOUNT OF SLEEP
First of all, how much sleep should you be getting each night? According to the CDC, adults over 18 years old should get at least 7 hours of shut-eye each night. This allows for optimum health and well-being for the body’s rest and recovery. Duringdeep sleep, it is a time of repair for organs, muscles and other cells. For example, the immune system is strengthened with chemicals that circulate in the blood.
So what happens when you aren’t getting the recommended hours of sleep? Whether it is intentional or not, cutting down on beauty sleep will be shown on the skin. Overnight repair is then compromised, with the onset of wrinkles or fine lines, dry skin, shifts in skin texture and the dreaded dark circles or puffy eyes. Not to mention, this period is best for cell turnover and collagen production for a firmer complexion and youthful appearance. Unfortunately with age, the production of collagen decreases in the skin.
Sleep is essential to survival, like food and water. Did you know that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping? This allows our bodies to conserve energy and restore itself.
What happens to the body when you sleep? Cortisol, the stress hormone, decreases when the body is hibernating, while the sleep hormone, melatonin,increases. The body essentially is in a mode of healing, recovering from the mental and physical aspects of the day. This is why a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on the body, messing with hormones, such as with the ones that controlhunger called leptin and ghrelin - changing how much you eat and causing weight gain.
This period of time in a day allows the body to reset and skin cells to regenerate, especially after a long day of battling external factors like sweat, grime, pollution and UV rays. The regeneration process at night is up tothree timesquicker than it is during the day. How’s that for motivation to shut off the TV and get your beauty sleep in?
While getting enough sleep can be a challenge in itself, another important aspect is actually staying asleep for a peaceful night’s rest. Beauty sleep cannot work its magic with constant disruption! Consider the below tips to help you maintain the best snooze so that you contribute well to your body and skin health.
- Humidity: If the air is low in humidity, it can extract the moisture from your skin, leaving it less supple. A humidifier can reduce dry or flaky spots of skin on your face. The skin is most dehydrated upon awakening due totransepidermal water loss, with H2O evaporating overnight.
- Temperature: We’ve all woken up or likely moved during slumber to kick off the blanket. Body temperature regulates thecircadian rhythm- an internal process that maintains the sleep-wake cycle. Keep the room cool so there is less restlessness in the night by using a fan or keeping cool air circulating with the air conditioner.
- Darkness: Light can be disruptive whether it’s from a window, alarm clock or even your smartphone so keep the room as dark as possible by drawing the blinds or curtains the night before and reducing your screen time before dozing off. An eye mask can help block out morning light as well.
While you snooze, here are some of the healing powers that occur while you are in beauty sleep mode:
- Collagen Production: Skin makes more collagen while you’re hibernating which means skin becomes plumper and less likely to wrinkle. More sleep means moregrowth hormones are produced, ensuring the skin is producing enough collagen. Aside from benefitting skin, it also improves and strengthens hair and nails.
- Natural Glow: While sleeping, the body increases blood flow to the skin, with studies showing skin cellsregeneratefaster during this time. Sleep deprivation can cause skin to look dull and lifeless, so allow a good night’s sleep for optimal skin renewal.
- Brighter Eyes: Sunken, puffy or dark circles? It can be due to tiredness or lack of sleep, which prevents blood from flowing well to the undereye area, which is thin. Cortisol levels increase, changing the salt balancein the body and leads to water retention or puffy eyes. Elevating the head during sleep can help with fluid retention. Discoloration can be hereditary, but lack of sleep exacerbates it, so get those zzz’s in!
- Less Acne: As mentioned, cortisol is not good for the body. This stress hormone causesbreakouts so getting rest is beneficial in reducing surprise pimples!
- Healthier Hair: Follicles benefit from blood flow to obtain vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Less of this causes weakened and lackluster hair with loss, damage, growth and breakage. Minimal sleeping causes stress or an increase in the cortisol hormone, which causes loss of hair!
- Better Product Absorption:Since skin is in a relaxed status away from external elements such as the sun’s UV rays or free radicals like pollution, it has a more stable blood flow, allowing products applied before bedtime to maximize absorption better while working with the skin for optimal repair. Choose nighttime products to work in your benefit that hydrate the skin while you do the bare minimum!
- Happier Appearance: Your first impression suffers when your sleep does too. Red eyes, sunken eyes, dark circles, pale or gaunt skin symbolizes a less-healthy look to others, so get rest to look your best!
Research has shown that people who were sleep-deprived with a tired appearance were not viewed as appealing or as positively compared to those who look well-rested and energetic from a study in Stockholm, Sweden. While it is unfortunate to be judged on looks, health can speak volumes on first impressions to others. However, maintaining your overall health is always about feeling good and doing whatever steps help to achieve that. This can’t be stressed enough - get your beauty sleep!
In order to maximize your beauty sleep, it’s best to create a routine consistent with your sleeping habits and skincare. Aside from ensuring you get enough sleep in a night, set time aside dedicated to proper cleansing and care of not only your facial skin, but your neck and chest too.
Below is a good basis of a night routine to get you started, though you may have more products to include.
- Cleanser:Remove the dirt, grime and makeup from the day with a mild cleanser
- Toner:Use a toner with a cotton ball to ensure your skin is truly clean
- Serum:Put this on before moisturizer
- Moisturizer:This will help your skin seal in hydration while it is free from external pollutants and works better in combination with the repair cycle of the skin.
- Hyaluronic acid:Necessary in your routine, it keeps skin hydrated! HA moisturizers can be used lastly after cleaning and serums. HA serums should be used after cleansing, then sealed in with moisturizer.
- Serum: A serum with retinol or vitamin A before bedtime will help counteract fine lines & is perfect for the PM since it’s not meant for sunlight
- Eye cream:Don’t forget this delicate areas with a thick eye cream containing glycerin
- Lips:Keep them soft and flake-free with try a petroleum-based balm
Aside from your PM skin routine, consider what material you’re sleeping on. It’s likely you're sleeping on cotton sheets, but opt for a silkpillowcase to soothe your scalp and your skin. Why? It’s easier on hair to avoid breakage and tangles. As for your face, the surface of your skin glides smoothly across it, preventing wrinkles and deep creasing. Also, aim to wash your sheets or pillowcase weekly to prevent acne from the buildup of oils from hair and skin. And if you can help it, resist sleeping on your side to prevent “sleep lines” on your face upon awakening or unwanted breakouts.
Now that you know more about beauty sleep, the next step is ensuring you have the proper skincare ingredients and products to aid in the nightly skin renewal process.
We know cleanser is necessary to get rid of grime, but toner should be included in your PM routine as well. Facial toners get rid of any excess oil, makeup or dirt lingering after you wash your face in order to prep the skin for absorption of healing products such as moisturizer and serum.
This aspect should not be skipped during your bedtime routine, since its absorption works better during the skin’s nightly repair cycle. Why not take advantage of doing the minimum while you sleep and letting your skin work its magic? A night cream with anti-aging properties such as vitamin A or retinol will assist in counteracting fine lines and wrinkles.
If you don’t have hyaluronic acid in your routine, add it! Lack of moisture leads to dry skin and wrinkles yearning for water. HA attracts water and prevents evaporation by binding it to skin cells, ultimately plumping and helping to smooth wrinkles. The amazing aspect of hyaluronic acid is that it can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water! This ingredient is the star to obtaining that healthy and dewy glow - who doesn’t want that?
As if the key feature of hyaluronic acid wasn’t enough, it can also assist with the skin repair process with healing wounds or acting as an antioxidant for protecting the skin from damaging molecules called free radicals.
Does the sound of acid scare you? Don’t worry! Hyaluronic acid works well with others, such as vitamin C, retinol, beta hydroxy acids (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), so you can safely combine these magical ingredients for the best skin!
Shop our hyaluronic acid serum here.
Do you think of citrus fruits when you hear vitamin C? We do too, but did you know that this is a great ingredient for the skin topically?
The nice thing about vitamin C is that it’s usable for your day and night routines. In the daytime, apply serum before moisturizer and sunscreen for optimal absorption since UV light lowers the skin’s levels of vitamin C. However, since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it fends off environmental and sun damage to cells.
Shop our vitamin c serum here.
You must have heard of retinoids or retinols, but what is it? Retinoids are a huge family of compounds derived from vitamin A and it’s also a generic term for any topical product that contains it. A retinol is just one of many types of retinoids that exist.
Regardless, both have the same benefits, just at different speeds so products filled with Vitamin A are a-must in your routine.
Did you know that retinoids work best during the night? Since retinoids and retinols break down in the sun and become less effective, it’s recommended to be included in a nightly routine instead of the day. Exposure to sunlight can cause your tolerance to decrease, which can cause redness and sensitivity in the skin.
Often found in topical skin products, this vitamin-A derivative has been proven in multiple studies to facilitate cell turnover, stimulate collagen, assist in treating acne, fading pigmentation, softening wrinkles and giving a more youthful appearance.
Retinoids sometimes have a reputation for being harsh on the skin as far as side effects with redness and drying when starting out. The key is to use a pea-sized amount to reap the benefits. However, this amazing ingredient is one that requires use over time for a tolerance that will start out worse before it gets better with the desirable results. If the skin peels, it’s actually helping to thicken the skin by stimulating collagen production. No need to fear as these aspects will subside in 2-4 weeks after the skin has acclimated to the retinoid products. All you need is patience - it’ll be worth the wait!
Shop our retinol serum here.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
So it looks like beauty sleep is a real thing. It’s not just about being tired and getting rest - sleep does the body good from the inside out. Who knew there was so much going on in our bodies from laying down and getting some ZZZ’s? While it can be difficult to commit the necessary 7-9 hours of sleep each night, make the conscious effort to be consistent and know that you’re helping yourself in numerous ways. And a reminder, get that beauty sleep- after all, it’s the least you can do for the skin you’re in!