Is Getting Your “Beauty Sleep” a Fairy Tale?

You know you need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel your best the next day, but isn’t the idea of “beauty sleep” just a myth?

“The value of sleep with regard to beauty is that it gives your skin time to rebuild itself,” said Karin Olszewski, RN, of Samaritan Plastic, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery. “All day your skin is a barrier that protects you from light, pollution, germs, dryness, wetness and more. When you sleep, your skin has a chance to regenerate and get ready for tomorrow.”

Sleep Protects Skin 

A study in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that people who slept seven to nine hours a night had skin that was more moisturized and that could protect and heal itself better after being exposed to ultraviolet light compared to those who slept five hours or less. The well-rested participants also rated themselves as more attractive in a self-evaluation. 

“The ability of skin to retain moisture, protect and heal all combat the signs of aging,” said Olszewski. “Your skin goes through much of its restoration while you sleep. If you cut back on sleep you are reducing the amount of time the skin has to repair, which can affect the way you look.”

According to Olszewski, skin cells regenerate more quickly at night. Collagen, the protein responsible for helping your skin keep its volume and elasticity, is produced as the skin cells regenerate. There is also more blood flow to the skin during sleep, which delivers the nutrients it needs to recover from a day of exposure to the elements.

The journal Sleep published a study that compared how people look following eight hours sleep verses a period of sleep deprivation and five hours sleep. The participants were observed to have more swollen eyes and dark circles, more wrinkles, and to look sadder when they were sleep deprived.   

Boost Your Skin Care at Night

Olszewski notes that nighttime is a good time to apply moisturizing and retinol skin care products since the increased blood flow can help those ingredients work more efficiently. She recommends SkinMedica Retinol Complex, which works best when used at night to assist the skin’s natural regeneration cycle. The product can improve elasticity and minimize the appearance of age spots and wrinkles.

For a powerful nighttime moisturizer, Olszewski likes Intense Defense Serum or Intensive Nourishing Cream, both from Epionce. The Intense Defense Serum is a highly concentrated dose of anti-aging multivitamins that can revive tired, environmentally stressed skin while sleeping. The Intensive Nourishing Cream is a rich cream that contains high levels of active complexes. It is especially helpful for skin with sun damage and can help reverse the signs of aging.

You don’t need a special pillowcase to catch your beauty sleep. Sleeping on your back or side instead of your face is a good idea in order to avoid creating sleep wrinkles that can deepen over time. 

“Just like using sunscreen and quitting smoking, getting seven to nine hours of sleep at night can make a noticeable difference in how well you age,” said Olszewski.

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