Is Lack of Sleep Bad For Your Skin?

Restlessness goes skin deep.
Is Lack of Sleep Bad For Your Skin? Article image

If WFH has turned your bedroom into a boardroom, sleep might be hard to come by. According to the CDC, a third of U.S. adults report that they get less than the recommended amount of sleep (which, by the way, is 7 or more hours a night). Foggy brain, shorter patience, zero focus, and serious caffeine cravings: we know how lack of sleep feels, but are we as familiar with what it looks like? Our resident sleep whisperer, Dr. Howard Murad, talks sleep deprivation, answers the question, “Is lack of sleep bad for your skin?”, and what you can do about it.

Can you spot sleep-deprived skin?
“Sleep deprived skin is easy to spot and it is something which I have seen increase significantly over the last decade in my patient’s skin,” says Dr. Murad. “In addition to tell-tale dark under-eye circles, lack of sleep is bad for your skin on many levels. The most noticeable signs are bags under the eyes (dark circles) but, you will also see dryness, deep-set wrinkles, dullness, and even acne breakouts.”

Is lack of sleep bad for your skin?
Simply put, yes. The effects of sleep quality on skin aging and function have been studied. Sleep-deprived women show signs of premature skin and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure. And many studies find that those who don’t sleep well exhibit more signs of skin aging, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity. Studies also show that those who experience quality sleep better recover from skin stressors, such as sun and environmental toxins.*

Why does lack of sleep impact skin health?
“Beauty sleep is not a cliché; it’s a fact,” says Dr. Howard Murad. “When you’re sleeping at night, your body enters a type of hibernation that allows it to repair itself. Many of the events that happen during this vital time actually cannot happen during the day and they help keep you healthy and, most of all, youthfully hydrated.”

What can I do to get better sleep for better skin?
Create a wind-down regimen. As more and more of us work from home, it’s harder to separate workspace from sleep space. Try Dr. Murad’s regimen for better rest and to wake looking well-rested.

  • Read a book. Instead of turning on the TV before bed, open a book. Participating in a calming activity at night helps the body ease into a more restful sleep. This tactic works best with less engaging books, so perhaps choose a book you’ve already read.
  • Meditate. Meditating before you go to sleep has a calming effect on the body and is an effective way to help settle down an overactive mind. Concentrate on your breathing, clear your head of all thoughts and slowly relax your body. Count your breath in for five and out for five. If thoughts keep creeping in, just let them pass through.
  • Listen to music. Playing some relaxing music before bed can take the focus off of things that may be troubling you or keeping you wake. Allowing your mind to wander along with familiar rhythms and melodies can have a hypnotic, calming effect.
  • Stay active. Tiring your body out during the day can help you fall asleep faster at night. Certain types of exercise can also help to calm your mind. Try a mindful activity such as yoga or pilates to achieve a good balance.
  • Create a wind-down skincare regimen. Sneak selfcare into your nightly skincare routine. Take time washing your face, patting it dry, misting your toner, and smoothing your moisturizer over your skin. Apply Night Fix Enzyme Treatment before you tuck in to maximize the clinically proven aroma technology. And, it works like a sleep mask over your moisturizer to maximize hydration benefits for skin that looks well-rested.

Effects of sleep quality on skin aging and function. Department of Dermatology, Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.