Beauty Rest: How Sleep Affects the Skin

While it may sound like a punchline, beauty sleep is no joke. Too few adults are getting the sleep that their health and beauty requires. 

Without sleep, our whole being is seriously disrupted. Our emotional and cognitive abilities take a nosedive and our body goes under severe stress. Chronic sleep loss lowers cognition, increases blood pressure and cortisol, and increases the chances for weight gain, heart disease, but going a few nights without sleep is no better. 

Sadly, our culture readily devalues sleep and the message of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” seems to have stuck with plenty of people. The problem is evident and there are only so many products and hacks one can do when the fundamentals to health and skincare are being ignored. 

Here are four key skin advantages of sleep that show why you need to prioritize the Zzzzz’s. 

It hydrates your skin

A study showed that adults who get 6 hours of sleep compared to 8 hours were more dehydrated. Sleepless night promotes a dry and dull complexion because your body is not able to adjust your hydration levels properly. While you sleep, your body transports nutrients throughout its systems, including the moisturizing water that helps maintain skin pH levels. This is what gives your skin a glowing, firmer, and smoother appearance when you wake up in the morning. 

It slows down signs of aging and prevents acne

Inadequate sleep causes the body to release higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can break down collagen and reduce the skin’s elasticity. Cortisol also causes glands in the skin to produce more oil, which can trigger a breakout and clog pores. High-quality sleep helps smooth the skin out and maintain a youthful look by reducing cortisol production and promoting skin repair. 

It regenerates your cells

Cell division peaks while you sleep which can repair damage from the day and cleanse it of toxins. During the later portion of your sleep cycle, your body releases human growth hormone. In this deep sleep stage, there is less protein breakdown in body tissue, and your body is turning over cells essential for repair as there is a surge of human growth hormone released. Often times if your sleep is interrupted or of low quality you might not slip into the skin rejuvenating state which will lead to faster aging and skin deterioration. 

It prevents dark circles and puffiness

A full night’s rest not only leaves you feeling fresh but also significantly contributes to looking fresh and awake.

Lack of sleep leads to dilated blood vessels which increase blood flow. Due to the thinness of the skin under your eyes, the increased blood flow manifests in dark, purplish circles. Fatigue can also cause your skin pigmentation to appear duller which makes it easier to see the blood vessels below. Additionally, during the night your body removes toxins and impurities. When fluid accumulates and toxins build up you are left with puffy, under-eye bags. 


There are numerous beauty benefits of a good night’s rest, but the particular impact on your skin should not be underestimated. 

Prioritize your sleep to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Try to stick to a strict schedule and plan your days and events around how many hours of sleep you need. 


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