How poor sleep affects your skin (and how to get your best night of beauty sleep)

There’s a reason they call it beauty sleep. Apart from feeling energized and well rested after a great night’s sleep, those who regularly manage 8 or so hours each night have a certain glow about them, an enviable complexion and clear, bright eyes.   

Sadly, modern life means we don’t often get enough, good quality sleep each night. And I don’t mean time lying in bed scrolling Instagram, we’re talking 8-9 hours of uninterrupted, technology free sleep where your body can do its best work – regenerating. Quality sleep is essential for a healthy, functioning system and beautiful skin and sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on so many parts of your system including energy levels, mood, concentration and appetite to name a few.

But what is it doing to your skin?

One of the biggest tell-tale signs of sleep deprivation is a dull complexion. Followed closely by dark circles under the eyes, congestion and acne. All in all, not a pretty sight. I did a bit of research into exactly poor sleep affects the skin and here’s what I found...  

You deprive your body of essential nourishment
The most important function of the body is cell regeneration, a process that mostly takes place when we sleep. During the first few hours of sleep, your body produces human growth hormone (hGH) which is essential for helping to repair damaged skin and combat signs of ageing by stimulating natural collagen production. Antioxidants are also produced during sleep, which help protect skin from environmental aggressors throughout the day.

Skin becomes unbalanced
Your skin’s natural barrier function is compromised when things are all out of whack, leading to increased levels of dehydration, poor texture and inflammation. Increased inflammation anywhere in the body isn’t good, but in the skin, this can cause acne flare ups and allow for pre-existing conditions such as rosacea or dermatitis to rear their ugly heads.  

The eyes have it
When you’re burning the candle at both ends and not allowing your body enough rest, your blood vessels dilate, resulting in those dark circles women everywhere fear.  

So, what can you do to ensure a good night’s sleep? I’ve listed my top 5 tips for your best beauty sleep yet. 

Move!  
If you’re physically tired, there’s every chance your mind will follow and you’ll nod off in no time. I find morning exercise to be the best option, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for it, then fit it in wherever you can, being mindful that exercise close to bedtime can hype you up, making falling asleep pretty tricky.

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Lock in a routine
Getting into a good sleep schedule takes discipline and routine. Plan to go to bed at the same time every night, turn off devices (and keep them out of your room) 1 hour before going to bed and create a calming ritual that helps you wind down. For me, this includes a warm shower, diffusing some essential oils, sipping chamomile tea and reading in bed.

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Make friends with Vitamin A
I am a huge advocate for retinol-based serums at night. They are amazing for anti-ageing, evening out skintone and helping to keep skin clear and bright. Just remember to only use it at night and apply SPF during the day.

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Take magnesium
I take magnesium every night to help ease muscle soreness and to relax me as I go to sleep. BioCeuticals have a fantastic magnesium powder that tastes great and is especially formulated for a restful night’s sleep.

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Sleep on silk
Unlike cotton, silk pillow cases don’t absorb products from your face and won’t cause friction between your skin and the pillow – meaning you can say goodbye to those morning face creases. Plus, there is just something so relaxing about a silky smooth pillow case.

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