Flashback to the skincare myths – I’m sure you’ve heard it 1001 times from popular media to our parents: “You need your beauty sleep”. But it looks like there’s some truth to this overused cliche.
You know you need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to allow your body to properly recover from the day. This period of rest makes you not only feel your best the next day but also have an impact on your physical appearance.
Let’s start with the obvious question: What makes people attractive? Even though what’s perceived as beautiful changes over time, there are some basic traits that hold true across cultures, eras, and even personal preferences. And these go beyond just symmetric features, thick eyelashes, of full lips.
The underlying traits of what is seen as attractive are biological factors. In other words, it’s all about the ability to produce healthy offspring – at least deep down inside our brains and we’re not aware of it. Sleep-deprived people tend to look tired. Hark to dark under-eye circles – the panda bear look makes people appear less healthy and ergo less attractive.
This is one side of this myth. But there’s another side.
Sleep Repairs Our Body
When you sleep, your body goes into repair and recovery mode. The stress hormone (cortisol) goes down and our sleep hormone (melatonin) goes up.
Melatonin is found in all kinds of organisms, bacteria, plants, and animals. It’s commonly thought of as the hormone that helps us get to sleep. But it also plays important role in supporting the body’s natural repair and rebuilding processes that happen during sleep. Further, it supports our immune system and stimulates the secretion of growth hormones that help maintain a healthy muscle-to-fat ratio in your body.
This molecule also acts as an essential antioxidant produced at night to support the repair of oxidative stress from UV-light damage. Melatonin supports the health of our skin and helps maintain the integrity of skin cells. This improves age spots, fine lines and even helps prevent skin cancer.
If you don’t sleep, not only do the levels of cortisol not go down, your body produces even more of this stress hormone. For your body, a higher level of cortisol is associated with an increase in inflammation, think aching limbs, swollen joints, abdominal pain, and more.
For the skin specifically, cortisol encourages inflammation in the skin. This means negative news to your skin barrier, drying the skin, and increasing the exposure to bacteria or other irritants that can result in acne. Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are all shown to become worse when we are suffering from inflammation. Even worse, elevated levels of cortisol accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in more wrinkles and premature ageing.
- Sleep boosts your immune system so that a lack of sleep makes it more likely for your to fall ill
- Lack of sleep may cause you to gain weight
- Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety, even depression
- Inadequate sleep is linked to higher blood pressure
Beauty Benefits of Sleep
During sleep, the skin sees a higher blood flow and with it, more oxygen and nutrient are delivered. The increase in nutrients allows the skin to repair itself, taking care of pollutants, free radicals, and other irritants which cause skin ageing.
While you rest, some cells in your body go into hyperdrive. These are the fibroblasts that produce collagen and elastin to make skin smooth and wrinkle-free. Your skin rebuilds both proteins so that it improves the skin’s volume and thickness. This in turn reduces wrinkles and improves sagging skin.
Your skin is radiant after a night of good sleep since blood flow to your skin is increased. The reverse is true too. If you don’t sleep enough, your why your complexion can look dull, ashy, or even lifeless.
Healthier Hair and Nails
While you snooze, your body sees a surge in human growth hormone that helps repair and rebuild body tissues. Sleep helps you recover from injuries such as cuts or even sore muscles from your last workout. As with your skin, your hair and nails also see elevated blood flow and get more nutrients.
How To Get Your Night’s Rest?
Now that it’s clear beauty sleep is not yet another ol’ cliche, the real beauty of it, it’s free. But, how do you achieve your beauty rest?
Exercise is known to help keep stress hormones from interfering with your sleep. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, take a brisk walk.
Skip the midnight snack
Try to resist the temptation to open your fridge late at night. Large meals late in the day can result in an active digestive system, which in turn disrupts your sleep.
Develop a routine
I know, it already sounds boring – routine… Still, it can be useful. Try to go to bed and get up at the same hour. Sleep 7 – 9 hours consistently.
Sleeping enough is great for anti-ageing, reducing wrinkles and sagging, rejuvenating your complexion, and prevent blemishes.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve other tips for getting a good night’s rest.