According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is a “public epidemic” that affects 50-70 million adults in the U.S. (source). It’s no secret that lack of sleep makes you feel groggy and tired the following morning, but did you know that it can also impact your skin health?
Sleep is a critical time that allows our body to regulate its hormone and chemical production. When you don’t get enough of it, however, your body will experience greater inflammation, which subsequently results in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid — two key compounds necessary for glowing, healthy skin. “Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis,” said Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor of dermatology.
There’s strong evidence suggesting that lack of sleep can also worsen existing skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, sensitivity, allergies, etc. Again, this is due to the body’s inflammatory response, which opens up a whole new world of problems. The increased inflammation can make your skin more sensitive to detergents, fragrances, airborne pollutants, and other compounds. So even if you normally don’t experience itching or other symptoms following exposure to the aforementioned compounds, you might experience them if you don’t get enough sleep.
People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to develop puffy, blue/purple bags under their eyes. This condition is usually temporarily and clears up once the individual has caught up on his or her sleep. Chronic sleeplessness, however, can have a similar effect — to a lesser degree — on the entire body. Your skin will lose its natural luster and shine, looking worn and aged.
So, how much sleep do you need to maintain healthy, youthful skin? It really depends on your age, physical activity levels, and body chemistry. However, most experts say adults should get between 7-8 hours of shut-eye per night, while teens and children should get more.
If you struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep at night, there are several steps you can take to encourage a better night’s sleep. For starters, eliminate any and all distractions in your bedroom. This includes the television, night lights, stereo, cellphone, etc. Studies have shown that people fall asleep faster in dark, quiet environments. Exercising throughout the day may also help you fall asleep, as it wears down your body so it’s naturally ready for rest.