The National Sleep Foundation declared National Sleep Awareness Week in the month of March to celebrate the health benefits of sleep. While the effects of prolonged poor sleep on overall health are well known, getting a good night’s sleep is also essential to skin health and appearance.
Research reveals that the sleep-deprived actually appear less attractive and unhealthier than those who are well rested. Missed sleep is manifested in outward appearance by tell-tale signs like puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. A lack of sleep also causes skin to lose overall luminosity.
However, poor sleep can have more dramatic effects, such as intensified skin reactions. Inadequate sleep causes the body to produce more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels induce overall inflammation in the body and suppress the immune system. Poor sleep increases the likelihood of acne breakouts and the severity of immune-related skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. Inflamed cells are also prone to a break down in collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. Excess cortisol also contributes to a decrease in hyaluronic acid. Skin loses its ability to retain overall moisture, resulting in visible dryness and increased wrinkling.
But it’s not just the amount of sleep that can affect skin health; the quality of sleep also plays a role. When the body enters into the deep sleep phase, it triggers growth hormones to help the body repair itself. While you sleep, your skin also renews itself and the growth hormones accelerate collagen production in the skin. If the body doesn’t go into this repair mode, damaged cells can accumulate, causing skin to age faster. So, not getting enough sleep actually ages your skin.
Getting your beauty sleep isn’t a myth and it is possible to wake up to a more radiant complexion after a good night’s rest. Aim for six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to allow the body to properly renew itself. The well-rested not only feel better, but look younger longer!
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