No joke, sleep is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I absolutely can’t get enough of it. And I am sure that many people share this feeling with me. And yet we all get very little sleep most of the time.
We often talk about getting our “beauty sleep” before a big event or day. But is there any science at all? Does our “beauty sleep” actually have an effect on our bodies?
dr Unnati Desai, the national GP director at Nuffield Health with a special interest in dermatology, agrees when she shares the benefits of beauty sleep and tips for optimizing our skincare regimens.
So what are the benefits of a good night’s sleep?
On the one hand, sufficient sleep supports holistic health, not just physical aesthetics.
“First and foremost, it’s incredibly important to understand that sleep is so much more than just a numbers game. The quality of our sleep affects our overall well-being, including our physical, mental and cognitive health,” she explains.
“During sleep, the body regenerates and repairs itself, which helps support every system in our body. It’s crucial to get uninterrupted, quality sleep every day to reap the most health benefits,” she adds.
Another thing that good sleep does for our body is that it increases the production of growth hormone.
People tend to sleep in five phase cycles that can last 90 to 110 minutes and repeat throughout the night. In stages 3 and 4, i.e. during deep sleep, the release of growth hormones increases sharply.
Growth hormones help repair and regenerate all cells, including skin cells. These growth hormones are important for the production of collagen and elastin, which contribute to plump, smooth and well-moisturized skin.
So, in order to repair the damage done to your skin, it is important to get into the deep sleep stage of the cycle.
On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can lead to problems like an increase in cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that activates our natural “fight-or-flight” mechanism, meaning the body is always on high alert.
“Cortisol is always present in our systems, but it’s often at its lowest when we’re sleeping, giving our bodies a chance to regenerate from the day. Unfortunately, lack of sleep does the opposite – it increases cortisol levels in our system,” explains Dr. desai
“This, in turn, can negatively impact our skin and hair and be the cause of some of the most well-known skin symptoms of sleep deprivation,” she adds.
Elevated levels of cortisol can also affect our blood vessels, causing them to dilate and causing dark circles under our eyes. It can also stimulate oil production in the skin and scalp, leading to acne breakouts and greasy hair.
“Chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to inflammation, which in the skin leads to a flare-up of skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, as well as general dryness. It can also contribute to hair loss,” adds Dr. Desai added.
So how can you make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep? Implementing a good nighttime facial routine can help with this.
Cleansing your face before bed removes environmental and cosmetic pollutants from your skin. Therefore, it is always recommended to remove your makeup before you wash your face and go to sleep.
Other tips for prepping your skin before bed include using a medical-grade face wash Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) to gently exfoliate the skin; and using an alcohol-free toner to refine your skin’s pores.
dr Desai also recommends vitamin A at night for anti-aging, fine lines, pigmentation and optimal epidermal cell turnover.
Top it off with a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
So get those 8 hours in, folks. It’s better for your skin.