What if you turn back the clock in your life to when you physically looked your best?
No wrinkles, blemishes, or dark circles under your eyes.
It would be a huge boost in your self-confidence, right?
Unfortunately, time travel doesn’t exist.
Instead, we’re faced with the brutality of time.
As we age, our skin loses its elasticity. It begins to lose its youthful look and develop wrinkles. And things tend to get worse when you’re exposed to toxins and have an unhealthy diet.
Since we can’t turn back the clock, we have to turn to science to regain our skin’s youth.
That’s why most people look to antioxidant lotions or even bone broth. Both of which can significantly improve your skin.
But recent evidence suggests there’s yet another effective way to both keep your skin healthy and restore its youth.
What Happens To Your Skin When You Are Sleep Deprived?
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can affect a wide range of things including your hormones, your stress levels, and even your eating habits.
All of which can have a substantial impact on the health of your skin.
In fact, one study led by Dr. Elma Baron found that people who don’t get enough quality sleep show more signs of skin aging.
These signs included fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced skin elasticity—meaning more wrinkles.
That being said, let’s take a look at how exactly a lack of sleep can affect your skin.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels can rise (1).
From a biochemical standpoint, this means your body is stressed.
And when you get stressed, your skin is one of the first things to suffer.
In fact, recent evidence has found that your skin is a target of your stress response (2).
So if you’re chronically stressed, you’re risk of experiencing psoriasis, acne, rashes, and dry skin increases.
That’s why it’s important to watch your sleep patterns and get a good night’s rest on a regular basis. If your bed is the culprit, then consider getting a new mattress like the ones The Sleep Judge recommend.
A sleep routine that includes seven to nine hours of deep sleep for the average adult can improve the look of your skin (3).
That’s because sleeping helps your body produce collagen, an essential component of healthy skin.
Your body naturally produces collagen while you slumber. So if your diet is imbalanced and you aren’t sleeping much, your skin could be in desperate need of some collagen.
And that’s a problem for your skin. A lack of collagen will cause your skin to lose its natural elasticity, creating a drooping and wrinkled effect.
Weight Gain Related Issues
When you don’t get enough sleep, your risk of obesity significantly increases (4).
That’s because when you’re sleep deprived, your appetite picks up.
Not only does this lead to overeating, it can also result in worse food choices.
This means more processed and sugary foods. They are the usual go-to in a sleepy state because they are convenient and your body wants the sugar for an energy boost.
It’s the perfect recipe for rapid weight gain.
And the more weight you gain, the worse your skin can get.
Evidence suggests that if you’re overweight you are more prone to acne and develop serious wrinkles (5).
Plus, poor food choices can result in unhealthy skin that’s starved of nutrients.
Inflammation and Weakened Immunity
If you’re sleep deprived, it can also compromise your immune system.
According to Dr. Balachandran, a sleep expert,
“A lot of studies show our T-cells go down if we are sleep deprived… and inflammatory cytokines go up.
Simply put, a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and increase inflammation.
Why does this matter?
When inflammation increases, your skin will appear more red and irritated.
Studies also suggest that a lack of sleep can trigger autoimmune disease (6).
This means your chances of skin diseases like psoriasis could increase. And that is a surefire way to get unhealthy, damaged skin.
How Can Sleep Help Your Skin?
Now that we know how a lack of sleep can harm your skin, l will briefly explain how sleep can help it.
Your body repairs itself in a number of ways when you're asleep.
For example, human growth hormone (HGH) kicks in while your sleeping.
This hormone is responsible for accelerating your skin’s repair and regeneration.
Other studies also suggest that sleep helps keep your stem cells healthy. Which is huge considering stem cells help your body regenerate new tissues and that includes your skin (7).
What Exactly Happens While You Sleep?
A person sleeps in cycles and each one of these cycles is crucial and beneficial to the restoration and repair of your skin. The cycles are listed below:
- The first two to four hours is when a person experiences their deepest sleep cycle. During this cycle, growth hormones and collagen are produced in high quantities (8).
- The following two hours is when a person experiences the REM cycle. Antioxidants are produced which eliminate toxins that can cause damage to your skin.
- The remaining two to three hours of sleep is when a person reaches their lowest core body temperature. During this stage that the restoration and repair process throughout your body continues.
Now that we know how important quality sleep is for your skin, you need to determine how much sleep you actually need.
How Much Sleep Do You Need to Be Healthy?
The answer to that is “it depends.”
I know, it’s not a particularly helpful answer. But it’s the truth.
Some people are perfectly fine with less sleep while others can’t function without the full 8 hours.
The point is, everyone is different, so you need to determine what amount of sleep is best for you.
To figure what amount of sleep is best, you first need to follow this guide to optimize your circadian rhythm.
Once you have your circadian rhythm optimized, it comes down to experimentation.
For example, I tried 7.5 hours of sleep for one week. The following week I tried 8 hours of sleep.
Surprisingly, I found that my body functions much better on 7.5 hours than 8.
Keep trying different amounts until you find what works best for you.
How Can I Get Quality Sleep?
You can find a lot of suggestions on how to get high-quality sleep. Some of them work, while others are a complete waste of time.
As explained above, optimizing your circadian rhythm plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep.
It allows you to fall and stay asleep with ease.
Of course, there are other things that mess with your sleep that you should consider such as…
- Chronic stress
- Consuming caffeine past 2-3 pm
- Your room has too much light
- You’re deficient in magnesium
- You partake in stimulating activities before bed (e.g., watching an intense movie or working out).
- Too much booze before bed
Reflect back on your past week to see if any of these culprits are destroying the quality of your sleep.
Once you identify the problem, you can look for ways to eliminate it.
The Bottom Line
High quality sleep is not only beneficial to your skin’s health but your overall health.
It will help balance your immune system, regulate your cortisol levels, increase your production of collagen, and so much more.
All of which can significantly improve the appearance of your skin.
So if you value your skin, take some time to optimize your sleep.
Not only will you feel better every day, you will be much happier with the appearance of your skin.
Trust me, it’s totally worth the effort.
Frank Apodaca is the editor of The Sleep Judge. A sleep health and product review website with the sole purpose of helping people get better sleep. Follow the Sleep Judge on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.