Elizabeth Best | 07 June 2019

Next time you feel like cancelling plans to sleep more, you can tell people it’s all in the name of science, because beauty sleep is a real thing. If you don’t snooze you’ll lose the natural glow of healthy skin.

When we sleep our bodies go into recharge mode and so does our skin. So it makes sense that a night of tossing and turning will show up on our faces. Here’s how a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your appearance.

You get dark circles under your eyes

Oh god, you’ve just woken up and you have dark circles under your eyes. Actually scratch that, they aren’t under your eyes, they’re ALL AROUND your eyes and you are kinda worried someone might think you copped a punch to both eyes. When in reality it’s because you didn’t get enough sleep. When you slumber, your body regenerates all its cells, which is especially true for your skin cells. Not getting enough sleep? This will cause the blood vessels in your eyes will dilate and swell, leading to nasty dark circles. So what do you do if you wake with dreaded panda eyes? You need an eye cream, and preferably one that’s been chilled in the fridge, ASAP. It will help constrict the blood vessels and de-puff your peepers. Even better, look for an eye cream or serum with caffeine in it to help tighten up those rogue blood vessels.

Your skin can become dry

So here’s the deal, it might sound gross but you actually sweat more when you’re sleeping. It’s your body’s way of rebalancing its hydration levels after a long day, getting back some of that lost moisture. What does this mean? No it doesn’t mean you will wake up sweaty and gross (necessarily), but it does mean sleep gives your skin a sort of natural moisturiser. No sleep? No moisture rebalancing, which can lead to dry skin. Not to mention lack of sleep lowering your complexion’s pH levels and screwing with your body’s natural oil balance. If you’re having trouble getting enough zzzs, make sure you are giving your skin a nice big ol’ drink of moisturiser to address the issue.

A dull complexion can take over

You know how when you’re tired, rude people seem quick to tell you that you look like crap? Well, this could be one reason why: sleepless nights can actually make your skin look dull and sallow. When you’re tired, the stress hormone cortisol shoots through the roof. Cortisol causes inflammation and that breaks down the proteins that keep your skin all smooth and bright. Also when you’re sleepy, the amount of oxygen in your blood can decrease which means skin can look pigmented or blotchy or just plain blah.

Hair loss. Yes, you read that right

Science says there’s a direct link between stress and hair loss. And anyone who has been suffering from sleep deprivation knows that it’s a special kind of hell and can indeed increase stress levels. Ergo, your lack of sleep could mean more stress, which could mean less hair. NO thanks.     

You can age prematurely

Speaking of stress, chronic stress can damage the integrity of the collagen found in your skin. That’s the stuff that gives your skin its elasticity and basic structure, keeping it all nice and taut. Collagen breakdown equals ageing skin that becomes thinner and loses its firmness, leading to wrinkles. And nobody wants that.

So after all of that, you can see just how important beauty sleep really is. You want to aim for between seven and nine hours for optimum skin radiance. And if you want a little helper boost, try a silk pillowcase to avoid pulling on the skin. And above all, take care of your skin. That way, even if your sleep habits aren’t the best, you’re still giving it the stuff it needs to hang in there. Well, not hang, but stay springy and collagen-filled.

About the author


Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.


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