From the bestseller list with books like “Why We Sleep” to podcasts, and sleep apps, we're all chasing sleep. But what about sleep and skin?
Well, sleep might just be the most effective skincare product you never need to buy.
A 2020 study took 32 women in their forties, got them to sleep 8 hours for six nights and then only 4 hours during the second week. Researchers compared their skin hydration, elasticity, wrinkles and skin barrier over the course of the two week study. Not surprisingly, it only took one day of sleep deprivation to have a measurable change on the skin with skin’s elasticity being the most quickly impacted.
To understand how we can harness what our body does naturally for better skin, here's a quick rundown on how sleep affects our skin. The science around sleep and skin has to do with the body’s ‘circadian rhythm’. That’s the master clock that takes cues from our body and our environment. It not only regulates our sleep but it sends signals and feedback to all of our organs, including our skin, and delivers a new set of instructions. When we sleep our skin cells operate differently. They go from a protective mode and shift to a regenerative mode.
During the sleep phase our skin focuses on several areas. The skin barrier is strengthened as old cells are replaced with new ones. Blood flow to the skin increases dramatically and more collagen is produced at night. There is also evidence of repair to UV damage (there is a growing body of research here to discover if this could be a key to managing skin cancer).
Besides getting a good night's sleep there are several things we can do to make this regeneration and repair even more effective:
During the night phase our skin experiences great water loss. By using a hydrating and/or moisturising product before bed you can wake up with more moisturised and hydrated skin.
We know that our skin absorbs and processes products more efficiently at night. This is a great way to get more out of our products. Use a nutrient-rich product at night. Remember you don't necessarily need a specific 'night serum'. Just use a good product at night that has lots of nutrients in it.
It's during the dark hours that our skin gets those repair and regenerate messages. Whenever you can make sure your room is dark when you sleep to get the maximum amount of repair time. And if you nap during the day don't do it in the sun!