All the magazines tell us we need seven to nine hours of it each night, but is there any actual science behind “beauty sleep?” In short: yes. You know how an hour of meditation has that special ability to help you to recharge after a grueling day of work? Well, sleep is even better. Whilst you’re sleeping, various functions take place to help your body and mind heal and reset. And, it just so happens that many of these functions have a brilliant side effect on our outer appearance.
Here are five beauty-boosting benefits that come with some quality shuteye:
- Growth hormones surge. What does this mean for you? It means you can probably rely a little less on that expensive anti-aging cream. Growth hormones have an amazing ability to revitalize our complexions. Their release means an increase in collagen production and faster cellular turnover, which scientists believe can translate to fewer wrinkles and plumper, softer, more youthful looking skin.
- Blood flow increases. When we are in our deepest stage of sleep, our blood flow goes to our muscles, bringing a bevy of beautifying benefits with it. For one thing, this increased circulation works to repair damaged skin tissue, leaving you with a more toned and decidedly “glowy” complexion. Additionally, it can help minimize dark under eye circles and accelerate hair growth.
- Inflammation plummets. Inflammation is currently the ‘buzz word’ in medicine and low-grade persistent inflammation is thought to be behind a number of health issues from heart disease to diabetes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there, this same type of inflammation can reek havoc with your skin and nails too And, you guessed it, inadequate amounts of sleep increase the levels of inflammation in our body which in turn contributes to breakouts and hair loss. The good news is we can help to sleep off some of the effects of inflammation with a quality seven to nine-hour snooze each night.
- It keeps cortisol levels in check. Cortisol is the not-so-affectionately dubbed “stress hormone.” When we are sleep deprived, our cortisol levels become unbalanced. This unbalance can contribute to acne, hair loss, and even belly fat—not exactly the most beautifying trinity.
- It balances hydration. Dehydration is not a word often found in complimentary sentences…and for a good reason. There is absolutely nothing beneficial to being dehydrated and yet, that is exactly what happens when we skimp on sleep. Contrarily, when you do sleep, your body masterfully distributes moisture to those cells that need it and flushes out waste. This means you’re much less likely to see a sallow, patchy complexion and puffy eyes staring back at you in the mirror come morning.
Now that you’re an expert on how beauty sleep works, here are some simple tips to ensure you are getting the Z’s you need:
- Set a regular sleep schedule (preferably between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.)
- Refrain from Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, and anything else that will cause you to stare at a phone, computer, or bright television screen an hour before bedtime
- Cover any lights in your room—they will mess with your natural circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin release
- Consider a pink noise machine or earplugs if you’re easily jarred awake
- Use a melatonin-based oral spray like OneSecond Supplements Daily Sleep Aid if you struggle with insomnia or early bedtimes
- Keep your room at a cool temperature (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit)