Are Your Sleeping Habits Affecting Your Appearance?

How a few simple tweaks can help take years off your face.

By Anne Ackeret 31/03/2019

We’ve all heard that a lack of sleep is detrimental to our health and wellbeing in more ways than one, but when it specifically comes to looking younger, a good night’s rest could be a game changer.

Why, medically speaking, is this true? “Skin regeneration is at its height between 10pm and 2am, so this is the best time to help the skin repair,” says Dr Dendy Engelman, a board-certified and nationally acclaimed dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City. “During deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired.”

If we’re not getting enough REM sleep, our bodies aren’t in repair mode. “Without the deeper phases of sleep, this won’t occur, allowing daily small breakdowns to accumulate instead of being reversed overnight,” she says. “While you’re sleeping, the body’s hydration rebalances. Skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal.”

Engelman says that a lack of quality sleep not only means damaged cells aren’t repaired, but your body never recharges or rehydrates either, leading to your overall health being compromised and aging to start appearing rapidly on your face. “Not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffiness, under-eye circles, and rapid aging,” she notes. “We need to support our cells and allow them to fully repair any damage that was done through the day (whether it be UV/UB rays, environmental aggressors, or lack of proper vitamins and minerals).”

That being said, when we DO get enough rest, we can start seeing the benefits pretty quickly. “When the body is in a deep, restful sleep, the skin’s metabolism increases and cell turnover and renewal escalates,” she says. “A good night’s rest can have immediate effects. However, committing to a regular regimen would compound benefits over time.”

Below, Dr Engelman shares five tips for getting your best beauty rest:

Don’t Rush Your Bedtime Routine
I find my skincare routine very relaxing and helps me to wind down from the day. I recommend not rushing your regimen but taking the time to evaluate your skin and pay attention to what it needs for that night.

Focus On Getting Rid of the Day’s Dirt
In the evening, it is about removing the day’s grime and gunk off your face. I recommend a double-cleansing ritual. Step one involves removing the day’s cream, make-up, and dirt with a nutrient-rich towelette/cotton pad to erase every trace of eye makeup with a liquid remover. Next, draw out sebum and bacteria using a gentle oil cleanser and lukewarm water. Oil eliminates impurities without drying out your skin. My go-to cleanser is Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Replenishing Oil Cleanser.

Invest In an Overnight Mask
I love overnight masks. Overnight masks are usually thicker than most creams, sitting on top of the skin, locking in moisture. By the morning, you can see the benefits. My new favourite is OMI Skin Nutrition Intense Sleep-In Mask. This mask activates autophagy within our cells to eliminate toxins while you sleep.

Draw Yourself a Bath with Beauty Benefits
I love baths! They help to unwind, relax, and prepare for a restful night of sleep. I like a bath with beauty benefits. It is a little-known fact that magnesium is much better absorbed transdermally rather than through the GI tract. This is why using magnesium oil (magnesium chloride) in a spray form or magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) in a bath or soak makes better sense than oral supplementation. Magnesium helps reduce inflammation caused by E-selectin, which is a molecule that causes inflammation in the endothelial layer of the skin. Magnesium also helps acne and other skin disorders by reducing stress and cortisol levels, stabilizing hormonal imbalances, and improving cellular processes.

Sleep on Silk
A silk pillowcase will create fewer wrinkles and indentations on the skin as you sleep. The bottom line is any product that helps reduce the strain on the skin is beneficial. I recommend that my patients sleep on their back to avoid compression lines and squishing your face.

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