Is 'Beauty Sleep' Real?

I woke up like this.

Telling someone you are heading to bed as you need your ‘beauty sleep’ may sound fanciful, but how important is sleep in making you look and feel pretty?

A recent survey found that people who got an average of 9 hours and 10 minutes good quality sleep each night, were most likely to feel they looked their best.

And dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe concurs that a consistent lack of sleep can have consequences for your appearance.

“When you’re feeling tired, you also feel more stressed and anxious and it’s this stress that induces problems with the skin,” he tells HuffPost UK. “If you’re acne prone, you can get more acne if you don’t sleep. Or if you’re prone to frown lines, it will have the same effect and you will get more lines.”

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“Also people will find that on the side they sleep the most on, they will gain more acne or frown lines or whatever problems they have with their skin,” Dr Lowe adds.

But before you blame all your skin woes on a lack of sleep, Dr Lowe also suggests looking at the lifestyle habits that may be preventing you from getting enough sleep - as it may be these, rather than the number of hours you spend in bed, that are having an impact: “If you’re partying all the time and you’re smoking or in smoking areas, this will accelerate skin ageing and make your skin dull”.

Sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Works, Maryanne Taylor also believes that beauty sleep “exists on many levels”.

“Sleep needs vary from person to person but the range is from around 6-8 hours,” she says. “The early stage of our sleep is our deepest sleep, and it is then that our growth hormones are increasing and repairing muscles and bones. These growth hormones are linked to increase in collagen, which is the protein that keeps skin strong and elastic. So insufficient sleep over a period of time affects how our skin looks and feels.

“But it’s not just our skin that needs beauty sleep. Hair can be affected by lack of sleep. Nutrients, vitamins and minerals from blood flow all stimulate hair follicles. As blood flow decreases when sleep deprived, the hair gets less ‘fuel’ and weakens.

“Even facial expressions are affected as we tend to frown more when tired too.”

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If you’re not getting as much beauty sleep as you’d like and you’d like to fake a refreshed glow Dr Lowe advises using products with retinol. “This will stimulate the skin to renew itself,” he explains. “And for those with dry and sensitive skin, adding the adequate amount of moisture via night creams will help replenish the skin barrier.” So you too can look in the mirror and say “I woke up like this”.