The prevalence of insufficient sleep is increasingly garnering more attention as the impacts of poor sleep have been shown to affect the body and mind. Recognized as a global health crisis, lack of sleep contributes to a host of adverse effects, including chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, irritability, impairment of cognitive functioning, workplace accidents, and poor school performance.
In our modern society, however, minimal attention is given to the seriousness of this problem as we continue to stare at computer screens late into the night, scroll through social media before bed, or fail to address our inability to consistently get a good night's rest.
And although research has linked inadequate sleep to disease and poor decision-making, it is only more recently that a connection between lack of sleep and skin health has been illuminated.
What Happens When We Sleep?
Sleep is a restorative time. Getting the proper amount of sleep is vital to our bodies' ability to function at optimal levels. As we are cycling through REM and non-REM stages of sleep throughout the night, several biological processes occur. Our brains are storing new information and getting rid of toxic waste. Our nerve cells are communicating to facilitate brain health. And our bodies are repairing cells and releasing essential hormones and proteins. These processes are all working to promote our emotional and physical well-being.
What Research Has to Say About Sleep and Skin Health
It has only been in the last 70 years, or so, that science has discovered the regenerative nature of sleep. Prior to this time, the brain was considered to be in a dormant state during sleep. Not only has research found this to be untrue, but it has also determined that the quality of sleep affects our overall health, including impacting on skin function and aging.
In a research study conducted at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, scientists found that poor sleepers exhibited several markers that revealed a lack of adequate sleep accelerates skin aging and reduces skin's performance. Below are some of the signs manifested in the skin of poor sleepers:
- Could not recover from damaging sun exposure
- Increased signs of intrinsic skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity
- Sluggish recovery from sunburn
- The skin was less able to serve as an effective barrier
How Inadequate Sleep Affects Your Skin
When you do not get sufficient sleep, there is a breakdown in the body's restorative processes. This disruption results in a failure to provide your body with what it needs to function at its best, often resulting in disease and poor performance. And research has demonstrated that these undesirable effects are extended to skin health as well.
Sleep affords overall repair to your body, including your skin. During sleep, there are several processes taking place to benefit your skin.
- The body is making anti-inflammatory cytokines to help repair the damage that was done during the day.
- Blood and oxygen flow in the skin are increased.
- Collagen production is ramping up.
- Fluid and toxins are being drained.
- Growth hormone is being released.
When you don't get enough sleep, these processes are disrupted and can show up in your skin in various ways such as:
- Dark circles
- Premature aging
- Puffy eyes
- Permanent eye bags
- Dull-looking skin
- Frequent breakouts
- Fine lines
Tips for Improving Your Skin's Health
One of the most important things you can do for your skin is to get a good night's sleep. In addition to that recommendation, below are a few tips for maintaining radiant skin.
- Wash your face before going to sleep – It is essential to use a cleanser to remove all the day's dirt and grime from your face before hitting the sack.
- Use a moisturizer – Apply a moisturizer after cleansing to effectively hydrate before bed.
- Get an extra boost with antioxidants – Look for products that contain green tea or vitamin C, which can aid in overnight skin repair.
- Try an anti-aging formula – The effectiveness of products specially formulated to combat fine lines and wrinkles can be increased as you sleep.
For more information about lifestyle changes to improve the health of your skin and developing a healthy skincare routine, contact HIMistry Naturals.