Sleeping Beauties: How Sleep Helps the Skin
As we age, it is evident that the effects of sleep deprivation become more noticeable. Not only fatigue and lack of focus are results of sleep loss. It has been proven that sleep helps restore the skin cells in your face and helps to cure blemishes.
The process of sleep helps to increase the collagen 1 production in the skin, which helps retain water, the key to good skin. 1 The nighttime also offers protection from skin stressors that we may encounter throughout the day such as sunlight, makeup and polluted air that can have many damaging effects on the skin.
As individuals grow older, the skin releases less moisture and the body typically gets less sleep. Because of these circumstances, it may be helpful to employ skin helpers such as moisturizers, humidifiers and retinoids or vitamin K (found in creams that assist in removing dark spots from the skin). 2
In order to let the skin reach its healing potential, it is best to remove all makeup that could clog pores and otherwise disturb electrodermal activity (electrical activity of the skin and eccrine sweat glands 3). This activity helps keep the skin moist and enhance the healing process. A nightly cleaning and moisturizing regimen will make it easier for the skin to do what it needs to do naturally. Make sure to moisturize the skin, especially during the fall and winter as skin tends to dry out during colder months.
It will be helpful to change sleeping positions from the side or stomach to the back in order to avoid putting too much pressure on the face and creating lines and wrinkles. Additionally, using a humidifier can aid in the skin restoration process by helping keep the skin moist.
It is suggested that the best thing to improve skin health is get at least six hours of sleep each night to ensure that you can complete at least five sleep cycles. Because cell-tissue repair is initiated in the Delta stage of sleep (deep sleep), allowing yourself ample time to rest will simultaneously be allowing your body to heal itself. 1 Also, staying hydrated on the inside as well as on the skin is equally important, and therefore, salty foods should be avoided before bed to prevent dehydration or bloating.
So don’t lose sleep over that blemish. Get some beauty sleep and let your body do its job.
1. Los Angeles Times—For Healthy Skin, Get Some Sleep; http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/08/image/ig-beautysleep8
2. WebMD—Getting Better Skin While you Sleep; http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/anti-aging-skin-care-11/sleep-skin
3. Carskadon, Mary A. Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreaming. New York: Macmillan Pub., 1993.