How Your Sleep Affects Your Skin

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A woman sleeping peacefully in bed
Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Thursday January 16, 2020

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Did you know that the way you sleep — and the kind of sleep you get — can affect your skin? It’s true. How sleep affects skin is according to the positive and negative sleeping habits a person builds over time.

Knowing exactly how sleep can affect your skin can help you to make the proper changes to get your skin back in order. Below, learn five how certain sleeping habits and a lack of sleep can affect your skin. 

1. Makes Existing Skin Conditions Worse

A lack of sleep or practicing poor sleeping habits can make any skin conditions that you are already dealing with worse. By not getting enough sleep, you can make your immune system weaker. In turn, this weakens your natural ability to heal physically. 

This means that any dry skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, acne, sensitive skin, allergic reactions or rashes can become even worse. 

Dr. Lily Talakoub of writes on how sleep deprivation can impact the skin. Of course, sleep deprivation is much more serious than a small lack of sleep, but the effects are very similar for both. 

This is because sleep deprivation affects processes like wound healing and collagen growth. Those with sleep deprivation therefore have higher rates of inflammation, which affects acne, eczema and other conditions. Talakoub states specifically that a lack of sleep can affect “the composition and integrity of the skin.” So, though you may not be completely sleep deprived, a small lack of sleep can impact your skin in a similar way.

2. Accelerates the Aging Process

Not only can a lack of sleep impact the way your skin reacts and heals, but it can also accelerate the aging process. During deep sleep, your body produces growth hormones that help damaged cells repair themselves, but without deep sleep this happens on a smaller scale or not all.

Without that deep sleep, your skin will break down more and signs of aging such as wrinkles will become more noticeable. 

One study conducted by a research team in Scotland found that sleep-deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure. 

Their study further found that the women who didn’t sleep well showed more signs of aging such as uneven pigmentation, reduced skin elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, and the inhibited ability to recover from stressors such as the sun or environmental toxins.

So as you can see, a lack of sleep could be aging your skin when all you want is to look and feel young.

3. Causes Dark Circles or Bags Under Your Eyes

Your sleep can also affect your skin by causing dark circles and bags to form under your eyes. This can be caused by oversleeping, a lack of sleep, or just an overall feeling of fatigue from the day.

One reason you may develop dark circles is because a lack of sleep can make your skin paler than usual. This will allow darker tissues and blood vessels to show beneath your skin. Another reason could be that your eyes are puffy from lack of sleep. 

According to a Healthline article, sleep deprivation can also cause fluid buildup underneath your eyes. This causes your puffy eyelids to cast shadows under your eyes. 

4. Can Cause Imbalances in the Skin and Breakouts

Even more, a lack of sleep and poor sleeping habits can cause imbalances in your skin, meaning your skin can become more oily or drier, and could cause breakouts. A lack of sleep is actually one of the top triggers for acne breakouts. 

On the other hand, your sheets and pillowcases could be affecting your skin as well. Sheets and pillowcases that aren’t washed regularly, can put dirt and other impurities on your skin which can further cause breakouts. quotes Dr. David E. Bank, the director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery explains that pillowcases that aren’t washed or changed regularly can build up dirt and oils from the environment and thus transfer back to your skin. This dirt and oil can clog your pores and cause breakouts.

5. Diminishes the Skin’s Natural Beauty

Lastly, a lack of sleep can increase inflammatory cells. These can, in turn, increase the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid. These two molecules are the ones that give your skin its natural glow and bounce. 

Without a proper amount of sleep, your skin can become dull and pale. Instead of waking up glowing with rosy cheeks, you may wake up still looking tired.  

Four Ways To Help Your Skin at Night

Now that you know how sleep affects your skin in several ways, here are four ways to help your skin as you sleep at night.

1. Have a Nightly Face Wash Routine

First, one simple thing that you can do to help your skin at night is have a nightly skin care routine to wash off any dirt, oils, or impurities that could clog your skin while you sleep. 

Washing your face may not completely prevent impacts from a lack of sleep, but it can help prevent impacts that occur from dirt on your sheets. 

A nightly routine can include facial washes, face masks, and moisturizers that help to clean and hydrate your skin. 

2. Sleep on Your Back or Change your Pillowcases 

Another tip to use to prevent the negative impacts of a lack of sleep or poor sleeping habits is to sleep on your back or change your pillowcases consistently. These tips will make sure you are not adding oils, dirt, or impurities back to your skin while you are sleeping. 

3. Get Seven to Nine Hours of Sleep

Even more, you can help your skin by getting the appropriate amount of sleep every night. That means that you should be, as an adult, getting anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep a night. When it can be difficult to fall asleep, try adhering to a routine that will let you get your recommended amount of sleep, with no stress involved.

The simple task of getting more sleep will actually help to combat most of the ways poor sleep can affect your skin. It will help your cells repair themselves. Thus, helping pre-existing conditions heal, preventing faster skin aging, preventing dark circles and bags under your eyes and helping you get your glow back.

4. Put a Glass of Water on the End Stand

Lastly, it is important to stay hydrated so that your skin can retain its elasticity and combat the aging process. All in all, it’s always important to stay hydrated so that your entire body can function properly.

Understanding How Sleep Affects Skin

Sleep can really take a toll on your skin, especially if you aren’t practicing good sleeping habits or are dealing with a lack of sleep.  

Knowing how your sleep affects skin will help you take care of your skin better. So, take some time to consider which of your sleeping habits may be affecting your skin in a negative way. Changing these habits could make you feel more awake and bring back your skin’s natural glow.

Updated on April 12, 2024

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