Your Skin Needs To Sleep

It seems to be a modern malaise; we all complain that we need more sleep, and often that the quality of sleep we do get isn’t that great. Hands up if you feel tired a lot of the time? You’re certainly not alone.

Sleep deprivation is a real health problem, but as well as being thought to increase the risk of conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and cancer, there’s evidence that not getting enough sleep can also wreak havoc on your skin. They don’t call it ‘beauty sleep’ for nothing, you know?

At my skin clinic in Needham Market I hear lots of my clients complain about their lack of sleep, and although I can help make you look fresher and younger with the right treatments, unless the underlying sleep deprivation is dealt with, the results won’t be as impressive…

How sleep deprivation affects skin

Good quality sleep is so important for every part of our body and mind. It regulates hormones and metabolism, and if your normal sleep patterns are disrupted, it puts your body under stress from inflammation. Oxidative stress and DNA damage have also been linked to not getting enough sleep, both of which we know lead to skin ageing – you’re more likely to develop age related pigmentation and wrinkles if you don’t sleep well.

It’s also been discovered that insomnia and a general lack of decent sleep can push up your glucose levels because of the way sleepless nights affect insulin levels. An increase in glucose levels has been found affect the regeneration of skin cells, slowing down turnover of cells and leaving skin with less ‘function and integrity’ according to reports. So, it doesn’t just look duller and less vibrant, it also shows signs of damage and slow repair.

How does lack of sleep affect your appearance?

More than you might think! One study from 2010 looked at the effects of restricted sleep on the faces of the participants. 23 healthy people between the ages of 18 and 31 took part in the trial and were photographed after a normal night’s sleep (eight hours) and then again after they’d been forced to go through a period of sleep deprivation (31 hours of wakefulness after a night of reduced sleep).

The photographs were shown to 65 people, who were asked to rate them. The subjects who had been put through disturbed sleep patterns, “appeared less healthy, less attractive and more tired, with changes in skin colour.”

More recently, a 2013 experiment revealed that people who were put through 31 hours of sleep deprivation had paler skin, dark circles, more wrinkling, and swollen eyes. They were also described as looking ‘sadder’.

So, what can you do?

I can help you with skin-boosting treatments, skin peels, facial treatments and hi-tech solutions but the work has to start at home if you really want the best results for your skin. Good quality sleep can help to protect your skin from premature ageing (related to hormonal balance), reduces the damage that oxidative stress causes and protects against inflammation and DNA damage. That’s got to be a good reason for an early night, right?

If you need any advice on skin care and treatments, I’m always delighted to talk – just get in touch!

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