WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SKIN WHILE YOU SLEEP? WHY A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL IN A SKINCARE ROUTINE
Have you ever noticed that after a couple of late nights or frequently disturbed sleep, not only do you feel less than your best, you also look below par too?
Dark circles under the eyes, dry patches, and lifeless, dull skin are some of the more visible signs that someone’s not catching as many Z’s as they need.
While many ‘miracle’ skincare products may claim to provide a night-time cure for your skincare woes, what these products often fail to acknowledge is that overnight, if you’re sleeping well, your skin is already working for you naturally.
Sleep isn’t just something that makes you feel fresh and keeps your brain sharp. As your largest organ, the quality of your sleep is in direct correlation to the quality of your skin.
Here’s what happens to your skin while you sleep, and why you should try to include seven to eight hours of quality sleep as an essential step in your skincare routine.
Your skin cells regenerate
Cell mitosis is the process that leads to skin growth and repair. During mitosis, single skin cells divide and form two identical cells replacing old cells with new, healthy-looking cells.
Mitosis does take place during waking hours, but while the body is resting, the process is boosted, and you’ll wake up with a brighter, more luminous complexion after a good night’s sleep.
The brain responds to stress by releasing the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone increases inflammation throughout the body which can damage skin cells resulting in dry skin, blemishes, acne and sensitivity.
During slumber, your body is in its most relaxed state therefore reducing cortisol and all the tell-tale signs of stress along with it.
Cortisol also causes thinning of the skin cells which leads to increased visibility of blood vessels under the eye area – more commonly knowns as dark circles. As you sleep, this barrier thickens, reducing the visibility of one of the most prominent signs of a night spent tossing and turning.
Melatonin – the sleep hormone – provides antioxidant defence to free radical damage caused by pollution, harmful UV rays and other environmental damage experienced during the day. Melatonin helps to defy the visible signs of ageing including firming up fine lines and can even fight skin cancer.
The human growth hormone (HGH) is another hormone released during sleep. HGH helps repair and regenerate skin cells to reduce wrinkles and firm up sagging skin.
Strengthens the immune system
Inflammation caused by lack of sleep may aggravate skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. A good night’s sleep reduces inflammation and therefore the number of flare-ups and severity of immune-related skin disorders.
Five steps to maximise skin repair during sleep
While you’re in your deepest sleep, your skin is recovering from the daily onslaught of a harsh environment, pollution, dirt, sunshine, stress, and ageing.
Follow these simple steps to make sure you give your body’s natural processes a helping hand, so you wake up with skin as fresh as you feel:
- Always double cleanse before bed. Thoroughly cleansing clears all debris from the pores and will open them up to help hydrating serum permeate deeper.
- Skin naturally dehydrates during sleep so end each day with a glass of water and drink another as soon as you wake to replace the loss of hydration.
- Get to sleep before 11 p.m. From 11.00 onwards, cell mitosis accelerates. The more rested and relaxed you are during this time, the more effective the process, and your skin will be glowing by the time you wake.
- Avoid using handheld devices from 9 p.m. This is the time melatonin production begins, and the lights in your phone or iPad can counteract the benefits felt by the skin.
- Try to get a minimum of seven hours sleep, more if possible. Everyone’s different, but as much unbroken, quality sleep as you can get a night, the more your skin will thank you.
- Use a jade roller after you’ve applied your serum to help products penetrate deeper and combat dehydration.
Sleep is one of the most underutilised elements of a skincare routine. Sleeping Beauty was named ‘Beauty’ for a reason. Follow these simple steps, and you will be too!
To find out more about your sleeping patterns and the impact on your skin, DM Lucy on Instagram for personalised advice.