We all know from looking in the mirror that a poor night’s sleep certainly replaces that youthful glow with bags under the eyes! It has long been understood that there is a link between poor sleep and the health of the skin and recent studies have started to show a more direct correlation. So, does lack of sleep age you? Definitely. Since this week is all about the importance of sleep, we’ve enlisted the founder of The Sleep Site and Sleep Consultant for Warren Evans, the award-winning hand-crafted bed and mattress maker, on why you really do need to get your beauty sleep for glowing skin.
A study commissioned by Estee Lauder, led by Dr Elma Baron, showed poor quality sleep was associated with uneven pigmentation, slackening of the skin, reduced elasticity and fine lines. In addition, those in the study who were deemed to have good quality sleep were able to recover quicker from environmental stressors such as environmental toxins and sunburn, and a quicker recovery rate from general cell damage from bumps, erythema and abrasions.
These physical changes in our appearance are largely due to the changing hormonal balance within the body, which naturally occur when we are asleep. Two key hormonal changes, which affect the skin when we are asleep, are an increase in growth hormone and a decrease in cortisol levels. Poor quality and quantity of sleep undermine these natural changes.
Growth Hormone and the skin
During the deep phase of sleep, we get an increase in growth Hormone. One of the growth hormone’s functions is to repair damaged cells and stimulate cell production, allowing the skin to recover moisture. Equally, skin elasticity will decrease. Without enough sleep, these repair processes start to decrease and show in our skin.
Cortisol levels decrease during sleep
Cortisol is one of our stress hormones, naturally programmed to decrease when we sleep. However, with sleep deprivation we get an increase in this hormone. One of Cortisol’s jobs is to break down old cells. Lack of sleep causes too much cortisol in the body and an increase in cell destruction (aging), rather than cell healing. Lower levels of cortisol allow your skin to regenerate and higher levels of cortisol contributes to the breakdown of collagen (a protein that’s key in helping your skin look young and fresh) and elastic tissue.
Antioxidant production also increases at night, which can help protect the skin from UV light. One of the long-term effects of these molecules is that they prevent damage from ‘free radicals’, which prematurely age the skin
My Top 5 Tips
Change your pillowcases regularly – Did you know that after a week of use, our pillowcases contain 17,442 more bacteria than a toilet seat! So, always use soft pillowcases and sheets next to your skin and change regularly.
Don’t lie face down – Not only is this bad for your neck and back posture but also the severity of your wrinkles.
Wash your face to remove make up and pollutants from your skin to ensure your pores don’t get clogged up and makeup doesn’t transfer on to your pillow which can create an extra build up of bacteria.
Eat a lot of various fruits and vegetables – Pick fruit and veg that provide all the antioxidants we need for a healthy body. The antioxidants that help our skin are Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Carotenoids, which are found in Carrots! Other good sources are Kiwi Fruits and Grapes. Berries are a great source of antioxidants, along with nuts. Vitamin C is also important for the skin. Remember scurvy in sailors of old, which was prevented by eating Citrus fruit. If you eat a varied wholesome diet you won’t go wrong.
Drink lots of water! – Most of us notoriously don’t drink enough water. Sleep deprivation often produces dry flaky skin. This is because the skin barrier is disrupted, allowing inflammation. Our body naturally loses water over night and being properly hydrated is essential for good-looking skin. So, make a glass of water your first drink of the day!
BONUS WINTER TIP
COCONUT OIL – The proteins in coconut oil contribute renewal and repair, helping keep skin healthy and rejuvenated internally and externally. It is also great to chapped lips in winter AND summer!
Dave Gibson is the resident sleep expert for Warren Evans bed makers, and is the founder of thesleepsite.co.uk. Dave has been practicing as a Naturopath and Osteopath for over 15 years and he is also a qualified hypnotherapist, providing naturopathic advice across a wide range of conditions to promote good sleep patterns and quality sleep.
London based bed specialists, Warren Evans has beaten top retailers to be named as highest-rated mattress shop in the Which? 2017 members survey. With their autumn sale now on it’s a great time to pop into a showroom yourself and check out their range of beds and mattresses as well as getting all the advice and support you need when making your purchasing decision www.warrenevans.com / 020 7693 8988.