Fact or Fiction? Beauty Sleep

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to our mental health and acuity, but did you know that not getting enough Zs also has a negative impact on your skin? That’s right, beauty sleep ISN’T just a myth, and getting consistent, quality sleep is essential for healthy skin function.

When we are sleeping our body goes into repair mode, and the skin is no exception – while we’re asleep it repairs damage sustained during the day from exposure to UV rays and pollution. Collagen production also ramps up while we are asleep, plumping and firming the skin. Collagen is one of the main proteins that gives our skin support, and inadequate collagen production directly causes fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging (studies have shown that getting 5 hours sleep at night instead of 7 hours results in twice as many visible fine lines!). When we aren’t well rested, our skin struggles to regulate moisture levels, further enhancing these lines.

Circulation also increases while we are sleeping, feeding vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to our cells. Lack of sleep leaves circulation sluggish, and less able to nourish the mother cells for healthy skin turnover, which leads to a duller, paler complexion. This poor circulation causes blood vessels around the eye area to dilate, giving the appearance of dark circles under the eye.

Hormones are also affected by lack of sleep – when we’re tired, our body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol triggers inflammation which can cause facial puffiness and inhibit the skin’s regenerative abilities. Cortisol also causes sebum (oil) production in the skin to increase, and is often the catalyst for skin breakouts in adulthood.

We know it can be hard to prioritise sleep with today’s busy lifestyle, so here are a few of our top tips for good sleep hygiene:

  • Going to sleep at roughly the same time each night gets your body into a routine - set a sleep alarm in the evening to let you know it’s time for bed
  • Minimise electronics use in the 2 hours leading up to bedtime
  • Keep the bedroom for sleeping – try to avoid reading, watching tv or scrolling on your phone in bed
  • Try having a pre-bed ritual to signal to your brain it is time for bed – we love taking the time to cleanse our face and apply our skincare before settling in with a cup of chamomile tea