Sleeping Well Important for Skin Health

SleepingA good night sleep plays a critical role in many vital functions including immune function, memory, learning and metabolism. Sleep deprivation leads to tiredness which impacts a person’s judgment, problem-solving and creativity. Studies have linked chronic sleep deprivation to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency. But did you know that skin health is also associated with proper sleep?

Research has proved the association between sleep and skin health. A University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center study commissioned by Estee Lauder found that those who did not get sufficient sleep had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from various environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Let us see how exactly sleep is associated with healthy skin.

  • Lack of sleep may worsen the existing skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Elevated levels of cortisol can result in increased stress and inflammation in the body. This can lead to increased acne breakouts, allergic contact dermatitis reactions, skin sensitivity, and irritant dermatitis. Conditions such as severe psoriasis may even lead to heart attacks. So keeping stress levels low and getting quality sleep is important.
  • Not getting enough sleep can affect your skin’s natural beauty. Molecules such as collagen and hyaluronic acid are responsible for skin glow, bounce, and translucency. Increased levels of cortisol in the body causes breakdown of these skin-friendly molecules.
  • Lack of sleep affects water balance, and results in puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles. Dehydration causes the skin to become dry and wrinkles to become more visible.
  • The process of aging cannot be reversed or put to a stop, but poor sleep can speed up the appearance of the signs of aging. Damaged cells are repaired and reinforced during sleep. Protein-breakdown is slower during deep sleep. Proteins are essential for cell growth and for repair of damage from stress and ultraviolet rays. That’s why ‘beauty sleep’ is deep sleep.

How much sleep does a person need? Adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, though this can vary among individuals. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that finding your own ideal sleep/wake cycle is the key to healthy sleep.