Sleep and skin

A Good Night Sleep – Sleep and Skin

A good night’s sleep is important to our well-being, helping us feel energised, alert and ready to face the day. In this month’s journal we look at sleep and skin and the impact that sleep has on our skin and tackle the question, is there such a thing as beauty sleep?

When we sleep our body, and our skin are in repair mode. At night your brain releases the hormone melatonin, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. Melatonin triggers the release of antioxidants which help reduce inflammation.

During sleep, collagen production is boosted. Collagen proteins are an integral part of our skin, imparting plumpness and firmness and are also important for healing.

During the day your body releases adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones to meet your energy demands. When you fall asleep, these hormone levels decrease and different beneficial hormones including the human growth hormone are released.  These help with muscle repair, growth and general maintenance.

How much sleep do we need?

The Sleep Foundation advise we should be aiming for between seven and nine hours a night. It’s not only the amount of sleep that matters but the quality of our rest as not all sleep is equally restorative. It is in deep sleep that your body repairs itself, boosting your immune system and restoring your bones, muscles, tissue and skin. We should aim for about two hours of deep sleep a night.  To achieve this you should adopt a regular sleep routine. Going to bed earlier and waking up at the same time every morning are important parts of creating a good sleep pattern.

Calming activities like meditation, light yoga stretches, a warm bath and reading can help us wind down. Try and keep your bedroom cool and dark.  Avoid using electronic devices at bedtime, especially those that emit blue light. These can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime.  If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep an intramuscular vitamin b12 injection may also help.

If you’re getting fewer than six hours, you’ll likely start to see an impact on your appearance and notably your skin. When we miss out on sleep our body perceives this loss or a lack of quality of sleep as stress. Stress signals can cause breakouts and make skin less capable of trapping moisture.  They can also slow down skin cell turnover.

What are the skin benefits of getting enough sleep?

Your skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which helps prevent sagging. More collagen means your skin appears plumper and fine lines and wrinkles are less visible.  Studies show that sleeping for just five hours a night can lead to twice as many fine lines as sleeping for seven would. Too little sleep can also make skin drier, which can make lines more visible.

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Blood flow to the skin is boosted while you snooze, which means after a good night’s sleep you wake to a healthy glow. If you are sleep-deprived blood flow to the skin surrounding your face decreases. This can leave your complexion looking dull. Lines and wrinkles can appear more noticeable.

The chances are you’ve noticed dark circles or bags under your eyes after a restless night.  Whilst dark circles are caused by genetics, age, and increased levels of melanin, sleep deprivation can make dark circles more apparent. The skin around your eyes is very thin.  When blood isn’t flowing well, for example when you’re low on sleep, it can collect under your eyes and dark circles become more visible.

A good night skincare routine doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be calming and help set you up for a good night’s rest.

It’s important to cleanse your skin thoroughly at the end of the day.  This helps stop pores from becoming clogged, which can lead to breakouts. Choose a gentle pH-balanced cleanser that will not strip your skin of its healthy oils and keep your skin barrier intact.  I especially like SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser and the La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.

Skin also loses more water when you sleep than it does during the day, so moisturising is important. My nighttime routine includes Medik8 Hydr8 B5 serum to help boost skin hydration levels. And don’t forget to moisturise your body as well, CeraVe moisturising cream is great for non-greasy, effective hydration.

Choose your night-time products strategically to optimize your skin’s recovery during those restful, restorative hours. I also like SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 and Medik8 Retinol 3TR Serum for accelerating skin turnover and boosting collagen production.

And forget lip balm! To prevent dryness use an effective emollient such as Kiehl’s Lip Balm No 1 or Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment.

There are a number of treatment options available if you feel that your skin is a little lacklustre due to lack of sleep. You could consider:

If you are worried about a lack of sleep speak to your doctor. If lack of sleep is affecting how you feel about your skin, consult a dermatologist about developing a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs.