Move over skincare routines, CTMs and more, apparently the road to great-looking skin starts with a good night’s sleep. The idea is not to throw out all your skincare products, it’s to improve your sleep quality. Dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Priyanka Reddy says that the importance of sleep for skincare can’t be emphasised enough. “Lack of sleep affects the moisture and pH levels of your skin, this makes your skin dry and dehydrated,” she adds. Dehydration has two impacts: first, it worsens certain skin conditions like acne, inflammation and redness; second, it has an aesthetic impact i.e. it fastens the process of ageing, as dehydrated skin loses its elasticity much faster leading to premature ageing.
SNOOZE OR LOSE
The relationship between skin health and lack of quality sleep can be a vicious cycle, according to a recent research published in the journal Clinics in Dermatology. Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones like cortisol in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions. This can result in increased itching, which can disrupt sleep further. As the vicious cycle continues, skin conditions and sleep quality worsen together.
Reddy adds that in the long run, only proper sleep can help in getting better skin health. However, in the short-term, you can try to manage the side effects of poor sleep. “Dry and dehydrated skin can be treated by following proper skincare routine of exfoliating, moisturising and toning – the most important step being moisturising,” she says. Her tip: use a moisturiser according to your skin type. You can also have treatments to help improve the hydration of the skin from within. If the problem is severe, consult a dermatologist. She cautions against oversleeping, which too can cause your skin cells to break down quickly and lead to dehydrated skin. In a lot of cases, this can lead to the same problems as sleeping too little.
Most healthy adults need at least 6½-7 hours of sleep. As you grow older, you may sleep lesser and lighter, but 6½ hours is a must for everyone. But it’s the quality that’s important
Beauty benefits of a good night’s sleep
Fewer wrinkles:Skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which prevents sagging. It’s part of the repair process. More collagen means plumper skin.
Glowing complexion: Your body boosts blood flow to the skin while you snooze.
Brighter eyes: Dark circles or bags under your eyes are a direct result of too few Zzzs. Elevate your head with an extra pillow at night to help reduce swelling
Healthier, fuller hair:Hair follicles gain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from blood flow; a good night’s sleep feeds your hair well.
Healthier appearance: Being short on sleep can cause the corners of your mouth to droop, making you look sadder
Products work better: Your skin can focus on repairing itself while you sleep, since it isn’t fighting the sun and free radicals.
TO SLEEP BETTER…
– Don’t eat just before sleeping. Make sure your last meal is at least 3 hours before you turn in
– Stay away from screens (TV, laptop, mobile) for at least an hour before you go to bed. Read a book. Even then, don’t read anything too intense or fast-paced
– Half an hour before you sleep, dim the lights to make it sleep friendly
– Build a sleep routine and sleep and wake up at the same time every day
– You can use melatonin supplements to help you sleep better – especially if you’re adjusting to a new time zone
– Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but not late at night
– Sleep under a warm blanket in a cool, dark, quiet room
– Use breathable cotton sheets and wash them regularly, so they don’t collect dust mites and bacteria
– Use detergents that don’t have strong fragrances