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Skin Science

The vital connections between sleep and skin health

A young woman smiles in her sleep.
J Malacoff Headshot
Julia Malacoff August, 13, 2019

Writer, trainer, nail art aficionado

There are plenty of lifestyle adjustments you can make to improve your skin health, from eating a balanced diet to washing your face every night (yes, every single night). But did you know that getting better sleep can also have a lasting impact on your complexion? It's true!

Sleep and skin health are more intertwined than you might think. In fact, with the right number of hours logged between the sheets each night, you may notice changes in your skin's hydration, elasticity and brightness.

Here's more insight into how sleep and skin are related — and how to maximize the benefits of shut-eye for your best skin ever.

More Sleep Means Better Skin

Let's cut right to the chase: More rest means a fresher complexion, and who doesn't want that? Research has shown that poor sleep quality can actually speed up the skin's aging process. So if your nightly tossing and turning — or hectic daily schedule — is keeping you from getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night, your skin might appear duller, drier, less vibrant and less elastic.

What's more, just a single night of sleep deprivation can make an impact, according to one study. After one night without sleep, participants saw a decrease in skin hydration and an increase in pore visibility. Luckily, these issues are just temporary; but it's worth noting that when you feel like your skin doesn't look (or feel) so great after an all-nighter, you're not alone.

Still, skin health is not just an external issue! When your skin suffers, your confidence can take a hit, too. The same research on skin aging and sleep also showed that over time, people who don't get enough Zzzs tend to perceive themselves as less attractive than those who make getting a decent night's sleep a priority, regardless of what they actually look like. Confidence and radiance come from within — what's going on inside of you matters!

Getting Your Nighttime Routine on Point

If you're trying to improve your sleep habits and you've never heard of sleep hygiene, it can be a real game changer. By making some simple tweaks and adjustments to your bedtime routine, you can set yourself up for sound, successful sleep.

It's important to keep in mind that getting high-quality sleep is all about consistency. So focus on going to bed at the same time every night — and try to wake up at the same thing in the morning. Skipping electronics before bed can also help! Most experts recommend powering down screens at least 30 minutes before going to sleep to allow your body to get into "rest and digest" mode, but the more tech-free time before bed, the better.

Setting Yourself Up for Successful Sleep

Your bedroom is your own personal sleep haven, so it should look and feel the part. That means keeping the temperature cool, making the environment dark and ensuring you have peace and quiet when it's time to turn in for the night. Have noisy neighbors or a lighting situation you can't control? Stock up on ear plugs and invest in a comfy sleep mask.

Lastly, think about upping your efforts to live a healthy lifestyle in general. For example, exercise can help you get to sleep faster when you lay down in bed, as can eating dinner at least two hours before bedtime.

Wondering what you can expect after implementing these changes? In combination with a great skincare routine, getting high-quality sleep (and the right amount of it) each night could leave your skin hydrated, elastic and bright. So hit the hay and say goodbye to dark circles — and hello to a glowing complexion!

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