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Sleep for Better-Looking Skin

A good night’s rest could be what’s standing in the way of your most healthy, radiant complexion
Written by 
Jaydine Sayer
Canyon Ranch Reviewer: 

We all know how good a full night’s sleep feels. You wake up refreshed, more alert and energized, ready to take on the day. It looks good, too. Catching a healthy amount of ZZZs helps replenish your skin’s various layers, leaving you with a radiant complexion.

The connection between sleep and healthy skin is an important one to consider, especially if you experience dryness or discoloration, or are prone to blemishes despite your other skin care efforts. And like other health risks of a lack of sleep, many skin issues can be turned around by making changes that can help you bank a better night of rest.

Truly restorative sleep…

  • Hydrates your skin. As you snooze, your skin’s collagen production increases, plumping cells and helping your skin’s lipids—the protective barrier found in the outermost layer—retain moisture, a key part of avoiding dryness. Most simply, hydrated skin remains firm and intact, reducing the appearance of fine lines and leaving you with a healthy-looking complexion that’s smooth and soft to the touch.
     
  • Repairs your skin’s cells. During your deepest, most restorative sleep, known as the Delta stage, cell renewal kicks into high gear, increasing protein production and the release of growth hormones. As a result, your body’s cells repair themselves and begin to grow in number, which is an important part of protecting your skin from damaging factors like stress, sun damage and other harmful elements. Sleep-deprived skin, doesn’t get this benefit, leaving it more prone to developing conditions like wrinkles and eczema.
     
  • Helps you beat blemishes. Just one sleepless night can begin to affect your skin’s appearance, leaving the surface looking dull. Ensuring you get enough shut-eye—seven to nine hours for most adults—not only keeps your complexion fresh but protects it from germs and irritants, helping to prevent acne and blemishes.


Excited to head to bed a bit earlier now? Great! Taking a few extra steps before you do can help your skin even more:

  • Take a shower if you work out late in the day. Though you may wash each morning, exercising in the early evening calls for another rinse. Letting all that salty sweat sit on your skin overnight can clog pores and cause a breakout. Just remember to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime so you’re able to wind down.
     
  • Keep your bedroom cool. Temperature is a major factor in creating a comfortable sleeping environment, but it also helps prevent you from sweating, which can irritate your skin. Set the thermostat anywhere from 60 to 68 degrees in order to adequately decrease your body’s core temperature.
     
  • Apply a moisturizer. Using a night cream before bed can help lock in moisture. Be sure to remove your makeup with a soothing cleanser before applying a face moisturizer.
     
  • Try a humidifier. If the air in your bedroom feels dry, a humidifier can help keep skin moist throughout the night. Be sure to clean the humidifier often to avoid mold and bacteria growth.
     
  • Lay on your back. While you may not be able to consciously control how you change positions when you’re sleeping, you can make an effort to protect your skin when you get into bed. Avoid laying on your side or stomach, which puts pressure on your face that may contribute to wrinkles.
Reference(s) 
American Academy of Dermatology
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Cleveland Clinic
Harvard Medical School
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke
National Sleep Foundation
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology
About the author 
Jaydine Sayer is a freelance writer living in Chicago with more than a decade of experience covering health, beauty, nutrition and fitness. Her articles have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Self, Forbes.com and several other publications.