The scientific reasons why you honestly need your beauty sleep


According to the experts, beauty sleep is essential for maintaining a radiant appearance and promoting physical and mental well-being and is crucial for our overall health. 

There is a growing interest in the benefits of beauty sleep, with Google monthly search volumes up a whopping 100% for ‘beauty sleep benefits’ and the TikTok hashtag #beautysleep garnering over 31.9 million views. During the summer months, especially in August, sales of popular products that promote good sleep experience a significant surge. This suggests that people seek out such products to help them sleep better during heat waves. (In the summer of 2022, when the UK had its hottest summer on record, there were nearly 60,000 searches related to the question ‘How to sleep in hot weather.’) 

Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining energy levels during the day and enabling the body’s repair and renewal processes. One of the significant impacts of insufficient sleep is on the skin. Sleep produces Collagen, which helps keep the skin firm and healthy. Lack of sleep can lead to dark circles and fine lines. Adequate sleep is also necessary for preventing dry, red, and acne-prone skin.

How long should I be sleeping for?

The recommended sleep duration for healthy adults is at least seven to nine hours per night, while babies, children, and teens need even more for their growth and development. A significant proportion of people believe they don’t get enough sleep. 

According to data from YouGov, 53% of women and 45% of men think they don’t get enough sleep every night. This is unsurprising  as hormones and menstruation can have a big impact on the quality of our sleep. Adequate sleep is not only vital for our well-being but also plays a significant role in enhancing our physical appearance…

Italian actress Sophia Loren lying on a bed on the set of 'Operation Crossbow', produced by Carlo Ponti, 1965. (Photo by Tony Evans/Getty Images)© Tony Evans/Timelapse Library Ltd
Sophia Loren lying on a bed on the set of ‘Operation Crossbow’

Impact of lack of sleep on physical appearance

Dark circles:

According to Google there are 246,000 monthly searches for ‘how to remove dark circles‘ which is a whopping 2.95 million searches a year. Dark circles, often hereditary, can worsen with lack of sleep due to increased blood vessel size. “Dark circles are largely genetic but are often exacerbated by a lack of sleep, because when you are tired the dark circles become more prominent as the blood vessels increase in size,” explains Look Fantastic’s group pharmacist, Aruj Javid, “Additionally, when you haven’t had enough sleep, your body produces more cortisol, which is a stress hormone to try and boost your energy levels, resulting in more blood in the body and larger blood vessels.” 

 Fine lines and wrinkles:

Consistent sleep deprivation can lead to loss of skin plumpness, contributing to wrinkles and sagging. “This is because collagen is produced during sleep, and collagen is key to the elasticity of the skin, preventing wrinkles and sagging in the skin. Other factors, such as sleeping on your stomach or side can create pressure on your face, which can produce sleep lines, so sleeping on your back will help prevent this,” explains Javid, “However, If you are a side or stomach sleeper by habit, try using products such as First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Firming Collagen cream, which helps to support and firm skin, creating a healthy-looking complexion while softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”

Acne:

“Spiked cortisol levels that occur due to a lack of sleep also trigger inflammation, this breaks down the protein that keeps the skin glowy and smooth and also makes your skin more prone to acne and breakouts, as well as making it more sensitive,” says Javid, “A lack of sleep also lowers your body’s PH levels which can result in dry skin – so the more you focus on your sleep routine the better outcome for your skin.”

Impacts of sleep on mental health:

Sleep also impacts mental health and well-being. Lack of sleep can lead to low self-esteem, increased anxiety, and poor cognitive function. It affects emotional processing, cognitive abilities, and memory consolidation. Insufficient sleep can have several negative effects on our mental well-being.

Low self-esteem:

Studies reveal that poor sleep can lead to lower self-esteem. Sleep deprivation makes us more susceptible to feeling drained and emotionally sensitive, significantly impacting our confidence.

Anxiety:

Sleep deprivation activates areas in the brain responsible for emotional processing, mimicking symptoms of anxiety disorders. Even otherwise healthy individuals may experience increased anxiety and distress after a night of poor sleep.

Poor cognitive function:

Sleep plays a crucial role in memory consolidation. Different sleep phases help strengthen memories and retain new information. Lack of sleep disrupts these cycles, leading to forgetfulness and misplacement of things. Sleepiness also hinders concentration and focus, further weakening memory.

Benefits of sleep on physical appearance:

Sufficient sleep has numerous benefits. It promotes healthy hair growth, enhances the complexion by producing enough collagen, and reduces under-eye puffiness by reducing blood vessel dilation.

Strengthened hair:

Good sleep stimulates the production of growth hormones, enzymes, and proteins that contribute to strong and healthy hair.

Enhanced complexion:

During sleep, your body releases growth hormones that support collagen production. This helps maintain tight and bouncy skin and aids in the repair process for acne and scarring on your face and body.

Depuffed eyes:

Sufficient sleep reduces the dilation of blood vessels under your eyes, minimising the appearance of under-eye bags by preventing excessive blood pooling in that area.



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