The myth surrounding the concept of beauty sleep has long been debated – but it’s no old wives’ tale. Getting 40 winks at night (or not) shows on your face and body. After a long, hard day’s work we may be winding down in the hope of a satisfying sleep, but our bodies are about to get busy preparing for the next day ahead. Our largest organ – our skin – needs time on its side to fight off environmental pollutants, partake in damage repair and act out cellular renewal.
“There is no substitute for a healthy diet, plenty of water and a good night’s sleep for your skin,” says UK-based consultant dermatologist Dr. Justine Hextall.
There’s good reason Sleeping Beauty awoke from her slumber looking positively radiant - and there’s science to back it up.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
You may be resting, but your skin is working overtime to rejuvenate at night.
“It is also the best time to allow skin creams to act, preferably for 8 hours - an opportunity in the eyes of a dermatologist,” says Hextall.
Adopting a strict skincare routine before bed is essential. Who doesn’t want to wake up with a fresh, dewy glow?
“I always recommend washing with a gentle cleanser and applying treatments and moisturisers 30 minutes to an hour before sleep. If hands are dry apply a rich moisturiser under cotton gloves to allow maximum absorption into skin.”
No dark circles
They plague a lot of people on a daily basis, but instead of trying to camouflage your dark circles or bags under your eyes with every make-up trick in the book, get to bed earlier.
“Sleep is so important to our skin. It is the time that our skin cells regenerate the most,” says Hextall.
Cellular renewal is at its optimum during the wee hours, so allow time for it to occur. Your body will be thankful first thing in the morning, and your eyes.
No premature ageing
Whilst you sleep, your muscles ‘turn off’, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Therefore, your facial muscles relax when the sun goes down which means those anti-ageing serums and creams you applied work at their best - keeping pesky fine lines at bay.
A radiant complexion
A lack of sleep leaves your skin vulnerable to dryness and dehydration. Not to mention dull looking.
“We all know how clear and bright our skin looks after a really good night’s sleep especially if we have eaten healthy food and plenty of water the night before,” says Hextall.
And what you drink throughout the day will play a part too, so avoid those caffeinated and alcoholic drinks before bedtime.
More sleep = less unwanted weight
According to the NHS, the more we sleep the less likely we are to gain unwanted weight. When your body is sleep deprived your levels of leptin (a chemical that makes you feel full) is reduced, and in turn increases your level of ghrelin (a hunger-stimulating hormone).
So the secret’s out: your slumber hours act like a night nurse for beauty and well-being.