Posted by Trish Alkaitis on Mar 17th 2016
We all know we don’t look our best when we are sleep deprived. After a couple of sleepless nights, our skin is dull, our eyes are puffy and some of us break out. So it’s no surprise that Swedish research shows that people who are experiencing short term sleep deprivation show greater increases in droopy eyelids, red swollen eyes, dark circles, pale skin, wrinkles and fine lines than people who are well rested.
The research Dr. Baron from Cleveland did on the effects of long term sleep deprivation on the skin, showed that the skin ages significantly faster as a result of lack of sleep. It also shows that your skin is able to recover faster from environmental and sun damage when you are a good sleeper.
Dr. Cahan from the University of Sao Paolo wrote an extensive article on why your skin suffers when you are not getting the sleep you need. Now I will not bore you with all the details, but what is interesting is that the level of cortisol in our bodies increases when we are sleep deprived. Yes cortisol, the oh so well-known ‘stress hormone’. High cortisol levels have numerous effects on our skin. It:
•damages the skin’s natural barrier
•increases the production of sebum
•promotes inflammation in our bodies, causing us to be more prone to break out
•decreases the production of hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for keeping your skin well hydrated
•produces hormones that destroy collagen
As a result, the skin can look dull and flaky and be irritated, red and inflamed.
An increased cortisol level over a longer period of time also causes the amount of sugar in the blood to rise, a process that is called glycosylation. This sugar will clinch to the collagen, making it surly and stiff.
Another hormone that has a large effect on the quality of your skin is melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’. Of course this hormone is responsible for your sleep, but it also has numerous positive effects on your skin:
•It protects the skin cells from damage
•It helps the skin cells regenerate
•It stimulates collagen production
Healthy skin is beautiful skin
Again you can see that it is all connected… You can’t take good care of your skin without taking good care of your body and mind. If you take good care of you, you take good care of your skin and vice versa. After all, healthy skin is beautiful skin and it is almost impossible to have healthy skin when your diet is poor or you are stressed out and sleep deprived. But as we live our lives we all have periods of stress, eating too much pizza and sleepless nights. The key is always balance. When you’re experiencing stress, aren’t eating as healthy as you should and have trouble sleeping; be nice to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about it or force your tired body into the gym. Take a hot bath, put oil in it, smile at yourself in the mirror and say “hey you, you’re okay!” Choose to be optimistic, it feels better….
To your health + beauty
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