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You Really Do Need Your Beauty Sleep

You Really Do Need Your Beauty Sleep

There are numerous myths about beauty and skin care that keep popping up no matter how wrong they are, yet every once in a while a beauty myth turns out to be true.  Such is the case with beauty sleep.  It’s a real thing, and you definitely need to be getting enough of it.

It could be you didn’t need to read what I wrote above in order to know that beauty sleep is a real thing.  You know it just from looking in the mirror after not getting enough sleep.  Lack of sleep causes dark under-eye circles, your skin looks less than great, and your fine lines or wrinkles appear more pronounced.  In the WebMD article Are You Getting Enough Beauty Sleep? dermatologists had the following to say about beauty sleep:

“Lack of sleep causes blood vessels to dilate, causing the look of dark circles,” says dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco. Sleepily rubbing your eyes doesn’t help those dark rings.

Not enough sleep can also make you more stressed, and everyone can see that tension. “It makes you look angry, tired, sad, and certainly older,” says New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD.

What exactly is happening to your skin when you do not get enough sleep?  Dr. Ellen Marmur explains in her excellent book Simple Skin Beauty: Simply put, if you sleep too little, you’re not giving your body time to repair itself.  The nervous system has two states that are in balance. The sympathetic system, which is more in control while we’re awake, keeps the blood flow near the core of the body.  While we sleep, the parasympathetic nervous system runs the show and blood flow shifts to the skin. Additionally, skin isn’t under attack from the sun and the elements at night.  This relaxed parasympathetic state allows greater circulation and oxygen flow to the skin, or peripheral vasodilation in medical terms.  This is when the skin gets a lot of internal attention and repair mechanisms go into action, much like the night workmen at Disneyland who fix and restore the rides and clean the place up before the part opens the next day.  Receptors spring to life within the blood vessels and grab amino acid molecules (the building blocks) to help build more collagen, and fluid and toxins are drained.

Without enough rest, the skin doesn’t get this repair and restoration, and all that important activity isn’t being done.  One example: when excess fluid near the skin isn’t transported to the bladder to be excreted, the result is puffiness.  …  It shows up most around the eyes because there’s less fat in that area, so water retention is more apparent.

After all this bad news luckily there is a bit of good news when it comes to sleep and your skin. According to Dr. Day our skin recovers quickly once you are able to get a good night’s rest.  So just because you missed out on getting enough sleep a few nights in a row doesn’t mean that you’ve damaged your skin for good.  And just how much sleep do you need?  That varies from individual to individual.  Some people do fine with only 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep while others need 8 or 9 hours.  That is something that you have to determine for yourself.

In order to make sure you get your much needed shut-eye create a soothing bedtime routine.  Stop drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoon, keep to a set sleep schedule as much as possible, and make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary.  Your skin will thank you for it.