Whether you’re a believer in beauty sleep or not, research proves that there’s truth behind the age-old theory. Science suggests that our sleep schedules can affect the appearance of our skin, with lack of sleep possibly making skin dull or puffy, and over time, haggard. That means that if you’re constantly logging less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep, you’re skin is likely to show it. Here are 7 ways better sleep can enhance skin, all of which totally prove that the secret to a radiant complexion may be as simple as catching some zzz’s.
1. Improves Overall Skin Health
Most importantly, sleep can directly affect the health of our skin. L.A.-based dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu chatted with Refinery 29 and pointed out that lack of sleep can lead to skin-related autoimmune disorders. Wu also said that missing sleep can weaken the mucus barriers that line our ears, nose, eyes, and mouth. If this happens, our body can’t easily defend itself against the harmful bacteria that we might come into contact with throughout the day.
2. Fights Inflammation
Wu mentioned that when we don’t get enough shut-eye, the body is more likely to crave unhealthy carbs, which can do a number on skin. “Good sleep regulates blood sugar, while poor sleep interferes with glucose levels and metabolism rates,” Wu said in the interview. Over time, this habit can lead to inflammation, resulting in collagen loss.
3. Strengthens Skin
While we’re sleeping, our bodies release human growth hormone (HGH). Without HGH, skin can become thin. This is noticeable as we age because the body releases less and less as we get older. “In deep sleep, your body secretes human growth hormone during childhood to teenage-hood to adulthood—but in increasingly smaller amounts,” Wu told Refinery 29. “This is why it gets harder for us to build muscle and one of the reasons why our skin gets thinner as we age.”
4. Protects Skin from Pollutants
Even though chemicals in the environment around you can wreak havoc on your skin, sleep can be instrumental in helping protect you from the elements. According to dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, our skin’s ability to shield itself from harmful pollutants depends on getting enough sleep. A good night’s rest decreases skin sensitivity that can be caused by various environmental factors throughout the day.
5. Keeps Stress Hormones in Check
Another factor pointed out by Tanzi is that sleep deprivation elevates stress hormones in the body, which can result in acne breakouts, as well as inflammation.
6. Fewer Wrinkles
A good night’s rest protects skin from wrinkles. As New York-based dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler told WebMD, said that our skin repairs itself at night by making new collagen. Wexler pointed out that logging only 5 hours of sleep each night can double the amount of wrinkles, when compared to 7 hours of rest.
7. Brighter Eyes
The most notable sign of sleep deprivation is dark, puffy eyes. This is most likely because the skin under our eyes is naturally thin. When the body is sleep-deprived, blood doesn’t circulate as easily, which is most noticeable in the face. Dr. Doris Day, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center, advises treating puffy eyes with some good night’s rest, according to the same piece from WebMD.