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Good Night, Good Skin

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What’s sleep got to do with skin health? Everything says the experts.

Insufficient sleep is considered a worldwide epidemic linked to obesity, diabetes, immune deficiency, and a host of other illnesses. When a major beauty brand commissioned a study several years ago, they confirmed poor sleep quality has a negative impact on skin function and speeds up signs of skin aging.

Current findings confirm constant low-grade skin inflammation is especially detrimental to skin health. Its causes include daily stress, improper diet, pollution, sun exposure, blue light exposure, lack of sleep, and of course, general aging.

In fact, a 2017 study found just one or two days of inadequate sleep was enough to create physical changes like hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, dark circles under eyes, wrinkles and fine lines, and sleepiness during the day. It also changed how others perceive your attractiveness and trustworthiness.

How does poor sleep impact skin health?

  • Skin repair takes place during sleep. Collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid are responsible for how the skin looks – its plumpness, elasticity, and translucency are replenished from the cellular level when the body is at rest.
  • Blood flow to surface skin decreases with sleep deprivation. The ability to eliminate toxins through skin pores is slowed and oxygen delivery to generate a radiant skin glow is reduced. Skin can appear dull, blotchy, or pigmented.
  • Immune system response is weakened. Reaction to skin healing, like sunburn, is slowed. The body is more susceptible to colds and viruses.
  • Cortisol production escalates. This stress hormone triggers and can worsen skin eruptions like acne, psoriasis, and clogged pores.

November is National Sleep Comfort Month. Yes, even adults should get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Start with a few basics to ensure maximum skin health:

  • Wash your face every night. Reduce the effect of pore-clogging irritants settling in on the skin.
  • Use topical moisturizer overnight on your face. Keep a glass of water bedside to stay hydrated.
  • Sleep on your back. Alternatively, use a satin or silk pillowcase to minimize wrinkles on your face or skin irritation.
  • Elevate your head. This helps reduce snoring, nasal drip, acid reflux and improve blood flow around your eyes.

Now that the stage is set, what can be done to get better sleep, more quickly?

  • Create a bedtime ritual and be consistent. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. Do the same things every night to signal your brain in preparation for sleep. That might include a shower, a cup of tea, aromatherapy, or journal writing.
  • Power off. Electronic devices, smartphones, and televisions should ideally be turned off an hour before bedtime.
  • Regular aerobic exercise helps sleep quality.
  • Control your environment. A cool and dark room makes it easier to sleep. Eliminate or block light from windows, clocks, and phones.
  • Stop eating. Finish meals and don’t snack two hours before bedtime.
  • Turn off your brain. Use mindfulness and meditation techniques to slow down thoughts that cause insomnia.
  • Consult a doctor or sleep specialist if severe insomnia takes over your nights. There may be other more serious underlying health problems.

The skincare industry and anti-aging market are being fueled by global awareness and interest in wellness, nutrition, and health. In 2019, it is projected $130 billion will be spent on lotions, fillers, serums, and scrubs to keep our skin looking good in pursuit of maintaining a youthful glow.

Yet sleep is one of the most important and basic contributions to healthy living. Our skin is easily the most visible aspect of overall health. Start by making it a priority to embrace beneficial sleep now!

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