Is Beauty Sleep Real? How To Maximize Sleep And Skin Health

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At some point or another, we’ve all probably heard someone mention beauty sleep. Whether it was your mother trying to get your teenage self into bed at a reasonable time or a beauty guru promoting their top skin-saving hacks, the phrase has been floating around for decades. But is it real? We’ve dug into the science behind beauty sleep to help you understand the benefits.

What is Beauty Sleep?

As you might suspect, beauty sleep refers to the shuteye we get each night and how it impacts our appearance. And while the concept that sleep can make you look better might sound a bit far-fetched, there’s plenty of proof that getting a good night’s sleep can have a whole host of benefits for your body — physical appearance included. 

If you’re not getting the proper amount of sleep, you put yourself at risk for a variety of unpleasant side effects, including a weakened immune system, difficulty with memory, moodiness, and more. When we consider cell repair theory, we see how a lack of sleep affects us inside and out. Just as not getting enough sleep has a detrimental effect on our bodies inner workings, it also affects our appearance. Studies show that those who suffer from sleep deprivation had a significant reduction in skin barrier function recovery. This means your skin is more vulnerable to external aggressors, which can leave your skin looking dry, irritated, broken out, inflamed, and/or flaky — and that’s on top of any dark circles, puffiness or other signs that our sleep schedule is neglected.

To avoid the side effects of sleep deprivation and reap the benefits of beauty sleep — more on that in a minute — experts recommend getting somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults. 

Skincare Nightime Routine 01

The Benefits Of Beauty Sleep

There are many benefits that come with beauty sleep, but one at the top of the list for many is less wrinkles. Skin produces collagen when you sleep, which means plumper skin, less wrinkles, and a younger overall appearance. Other top benefits of beauty sleep that are often purported include: 

The general consensus is more sleep = a healthier, happier, and more attractive version of yourself.

Skin Health And Sleep Deprivation

As we mentioned earlier, sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your health — and that includes your skin’s health. If we’re not getting enough shuteye and allowing our skin time to recover and rejuvenate, we may be setting ourselves on a path to some skin conditions we’d rather avoid, including: 

Skincare Nightime Routine 02

Skin Care Essentials And Sleep 

Luckily, there are things we can do to set our skin up for success as we sleep. A good skincare routine can make a huge impact on how your skin looks and feels. 

The first step is to wash your face with a cleanser that’s right for your skin type. One product does not fit all, so it’s important to do your research — for example, those with acne-prone skin might look for a face wash that’s charcoal based, while someone with dry, sensitive skin should look for a more gentle cleanser. Regardless, it’s important to wash your face once or twice a day, and especially before bedtime — removing any sunscreen (wear it every day!), makeup, or other gunk that might have found its way onto your face is an important step on the path to a clear, glowy complexion. Clean skin is key for allowing your skin to heal and repair, and it can help prevent outbreaks that can come with blocked pores. 

Next up, we’d recommend a serum with vitamin C or vitamin A. Both are great for collagen production, which keeps your skin looking plump and full. And of course, it’s key to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Using a good moisturizer creates a barrier between your skin and the climate, keeps your skin from drying out, and can slow the aging process. 

And just as we take care of our faces, we want to take care of our bodies, too — to keep your skin looking luminous all around, it’s important to exfoliate and moisturize your body as well.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Beauty Sleep

On top of a stellar skincare routine, you can take control of your beauty regimen by taking control of your sleep routine. Simply put, the more high quality beauty sleep you can get into your schedule, the more time your body — and your skin — can recover from the previous day. Below are our tips for getting the most out of your sleep routine. 

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene. Good sleep hygiene is one of the most helpful things you can do if you’re struggling to get the right amount of sleep. Some basic tips include: 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime. 
  • Create a dark, cool sleep environment. 
  • Avoid blue light before bed — this can mess with your circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep. 
  • Avoid heavy meals or foods that will keep you awake before bedtime — that includes sugary snacks!
  • Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only. This will help your brain understand that when you climb into bed, it’s time to rest. 

In addition, your immediate sleep environment can have a definitive impact on your skin. We recommend clean sheets and pillow cases — preferably silk or sateen if you’re particularly invested in your skin — from a hygiene perspective and for the sake of the glowy, clear complexion you’re striving for. 

It’s best to wash your sheets once a week; we know that sounds like a lot, but if you knew how much bacteria, fungi, and allergens can build up in your bed over time, you’d be washing without complaint! If you’re a particularly clean sleeper — you shower before you go to bed, don’t eat in the bedroom and keep pets off the bed — you can probably get away with every other week. 

The Last Word From Sleepopolis

Sleep is good for your health for so many reasons, and a youthful, glowing appearance is just one on a long list. If you want to look and feel like your best self, consider starting with your sleep schedule — the benefits will be sure to follow.

Jessica Banks

Jessica Banks

Jessica Banks is a health editor at Sleepopolis. Leading the charge on everything evergreen, she aims to help people get a good night's sleep whether they're struggling with a sleep disorder, searching for new sleep-friendly snacks, or trying to catch their best night's sleep on the go.