Here’s some beauty news you can sleep on.
New research out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio showed that the better quality sleep we get, the better our skin will look.
The study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, showed that poor sleepers had older looking skin, and were slower to rebound from a variety of skin stressors such as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also thought they looked more aged than their counterparts who reported better sleep. The research was presented at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure,” said study author dermatologist Elma Baron, MD. “While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown.”
The study involved 60 women aged 30 and 49, half of whom were poor sleepers based on standard measures of sleep quality. The women took part in several non-invasive skin challenges and kept a sleep log for one week.
According to the findings, poor sleepers had more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and lax skin than their counterparts who were good sleepers. There were no differences between the groups in lifelong sun damage such as coarse wrinkles and sunburn freckles. The redness and inflammation after a sunburn lasted longer in the poor sleepers. These same women also fared worse on other tests measuring the skin’s ability to bounce back after other challenges.
Many studies have linked lack of sleep to risk of obesity. In the new report, 23 percent of good quality sleepers were obese compared to 44 percent of poor quality sleepers. Poor sleepers were harder on themselves about how they looked then those women who were getting adequate sleep.
“This study is a long time coming,” says Michael J. Breus, PhD, a sleep specialist based in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the author of several books including Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep. “Skin health is directly related to the quantity and quality of sleep you get.”
You can usually tell if someone had a rough night by looking at them, he says. Tired people look well … tired, and not refreshed. “The more sleep deprived you are, the more dehydrated you are and skin health is directly related to hydration,” he says. Poor sleep also affects elastin, the protein in skin that gives it a rubbery, resillient and youthful quality. “When looking at treatment for your skin, you can never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest—it may even make the treatments more effective,” he says.
So how can you tell if your skin is paying the price for your lack of sleep?
1) Do you hit the snooze button in the morning? More than once? More than twice?
2) Do you fall asleep within 5 minutes of your head hitting the pillow?
3) When you wake, are you still dragging?
4) Are you forgetting things?
5) Do friends and colleagues say you are acting grumpy and moody?
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you may not be getting enough restorative sleep.
This starts with improving your sleep hygiene, he says. “Keep a regular schedule,” he says. “Go to bed and wake at the same time each day,” he says. “Stop caffeine by about 2 PM and make sure you get 15 minutes of sunlight in the morning to reset your body’s clock. “
Some people may have true sleep disorders, so if the hygiene tips don’t help, consider talking to your doctor about your sleep quantity and quality.