Beauty sleep. It’s the ultimate beauty cliche. You’ve read about it in countless magazines, heard it repeated hundreds of times in movies and you’ve probably even said “I’ve got to get my beauty sleep” yourself a fair few times. But is the entire concept nothing more than an old wives tale? Or is there actually a solid dermatological link between ‘skin’ and ‘sleep’?
The answer is fairly simple: yes.
The skin is last in line when it comes to receiving all the nutrients and benefits we feed our body, sleep included. When something’s off, our skin will be the first organ to show the disturbance, which means that someone who slept for eight hours will, by default, look more refreshed than someone who only managed three.
A lack of sleep also keeps our bodies in a higher state of stress, which sends cortisol levels soaring. It’s a bit like when you have too many Google Chrome tabs open: the system (i.e. your body) enters overdrive, forced to work harder and harder. This, in turn, is likely to lead to a higher rate of inflammation, which is bound to manifest in the skin. In fact, recent studies have linked dermatitis and eczema to sleep disorders as over time, a lack of sleep (and its prerequisite stress and inflammation) can actually compromise the skin barrier.
You can also expect a slower rate of cell turnover. Night time is when our skin enters regeneration mode, working to replenish after a busy day spent fighting off external aggressors like pollution and UV. If skin doesn’t have enough time to regenerate, which can correlate to acneic conditions, unusual breakouts, redness and in the long term, premature ageing. It can also impact the oxygenation of the skin, which can leave skin looking sallow, dull and tired-looking and cause dark, puffy under-eyes.
So it’s quite clear that beauty sleep isn’t an empty saying after all! But what can be done about it?
First, get more sleep! We understand, this is often easier said than done but make sure you’re putting tools in place to help the process such as cutting out coffee after 12pm and switching off the TV at a reasonable hour.
Control your stress levels. Try and find a way to unwind after a busy day. Perhaps take a digital detox, read a book, try meditation or take a walk in the park. Exercise can also be very helpful: it produces endorphins (aka happy hormones!) than can improve sleep patterns.
Use skincare to your advantage. Look for ingredients that undo the effects of poor sleep by hydrating the skin and repairing the barrier. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, rosehip oil, vitamin C, vitamin E and SPF are all good places to start.
Let us help! Whether your lack of sleep is caused by a newborn baby, a stressful period at work or even just unexplained insomnia, our 1:1 Holistic Skin Sessions can help. As the name would suggest, we take a holistic approach looking at all aspects of your lifestyle and offering solid, practical tools you can use to not only reach your skin goals, but to also help with many areas of your general wellbeing. After all, it’s all linked!
For more skincare wisdom like this, check out our podcast The Skinterview. Each week, we interview a skincare expert on the topics that really matter, demystifying complex concepts, busting beauty myths and sharing honest reviews.