The Truth About Getting Your Beauty Sleep

Let’s face it. Everyone is tired. Often used as bragging rights, many of us tout our lack of sleep, like Amy Poehler, who shares her war stories with friends about restless nights and exhaustion in her book Yes Please ([]c2[p]cisc6vnkt00bfc5y874vik5na[i]HlFNCB[d]D[r][z]m&tag=thecutonsite-20). While we may think we’re conquering the world and getting more done, we’re actually compromising our health. But as HuffPost Founder Arianna Huffington ( learned the hard way, chronic lack of sleep can be very dangerous. From extreme fatigue, Arianna fainted, hit her head, broke her cheekbone and needed stitches above her eye—this happened while she was sitting at her desk.
How many of us are getting enough sleep?
Not many. In our busy, high-tech world, sleep is often elusive. Most of us need more sleep, but find it difficult to unplug and unwind. Other activities that zap sleep: parenting, work, stress or even binging on the latest Showtime or Netflix series. According to a new study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis and nearly 40% have unintentionally fallen asleep during the day ( Yikes!
With a consistent 8 hours of shuteye per night (what most of us need), the body runs well. Without it, we find a myriad of health issues. In fact, the CDC even considers insufficient sleep a public health problem. When we miss sleep, we rob our bodies of time to restore, renew and combat the stress of the day. If we chronically miss sleep, we may suffer from things like memory loss, difficulty learning and irritability, as well as physical health issues like diabetes, depression, heart disease, obesity and low immune system function.
But that’s not all. Sleep deprivation also wreaks havoc on the skin! In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, (March 11-17), let’s discuss how important sleep is to your skin (
What does your face look like when you miss a night’s sleep?
Dark circles. Puffy eyes. Dull skin. You know the drill. In general, you look how you feel—tired and sad.
What does your face and body look like if you continuously miss sleep?
Puffy skin. Dark circles. Rough skin. Fine lines. Acne breakouts. Chronic skin condition flare-ups.
How does lack of sleep affect you—below your skin?
Essentially, you age faster. Collagen, the protein that keeps the skin firm and elastic, naturally declines with age. But you accelerate the aging process and slow down collagen formation when you don’t sleep.
During the day, the skin is busy protecting against environmental stressors. But at night, it’s time to restore and repair skin as blood flow increases. Without sleep, your body doesn’t have time to restore itself, leading to more stress and less regeneration ( Lack of blood flow decreases nutrients delivered to your skin and makes those dark circles under your eyes. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body also releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much of this hormone can break down skin collagen and trigger how your immune system functions, including producing collagen, increasing acne flare-ups and aggravating other chronic skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis).
Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. When you’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. With age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones. And guess what? It’s only released during deep sleep (
The skin experiences a significant decrease in hydration and impaired function of its protective barrier, which serves to lock in moisture and prevent water loss, after just a single night of sleep deprivation. Plus, this lack of hydration leads to decreased skin elasticity, and pores can look larger than normal ( To make matters worse, you recover more slowly from sun exposure if you’re sleep deprived (
Without sleep, the lymphatic system that removes toxins and waste from your body may become less effective too. You’ll see it under your eyes when they become puffy and swollen.
Now you’ve got another reason to prioritize sleep—so you look and feel better.

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