Not Enough Sleep? It's Written All Over Your Face

Not Enough Sleep? It's Written All Over Your Face

Published October 20th, 2020

Sleep Multiplier stick leaning against glass of water with lavender and blueberries.

It's called beauty rest for a reason! We all know from experience how one long night can leave us looking worse for wear the next morning—but why? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: what goes on internally can show up externally, often reflected in the look and feel of your skin. Getting enough sleep is an essential part of everyday wellness and staying healthy now and in the future. If you’ve ever woken up from a completely dissatisfying and altogether not-long-enough night’s rest, only to look in the mirror and sigh, then this one’s for you. 

The Sleep-Skin Connection

Between work, stress, errands, and kids, getting the sleep you need is easier said than done. To make matters worse, a bad night’s rest can have an antagonizing knock-on effect, so that every time you pass by a reflective surface, you’re taunted by an unfamiliar, yawning face with sunken eyes and lackluster skin staring back at you.

We know the feeling all too well, that’s why we’re diving into the connection between sleep and your skin. What is your skin up to while you’re deep in slumber (or not)? What exactly are the beauty implications of not getting the recommended seven to nine hours, both short-term and over time? We’ve got the answers to all your burning questions. Plus, you’ll find a few suggestions for how to better support your skin while you snooze. Feeling intrigued? Keep reading to get the goods!

What’s Really Happening When You Snooze?

As crazy as it might sound, while you’re deep in dreamland, your skin is hard at work! That’s right, you may be sleeping, but your skin is busy repairing the damage of another day in the big wide world. And as big and beautiful as that world may be, it’s also full of environmental aggressors that play a daily game of cat and mouse with your precious face. In other words, bedtime for you means damage control time for your cells. The wee hours of the night are when your skin gets to work, counteracting the negative effects of sun damage and environmental pollution, by producing anti-inflammatory cytokines (which signal your cells to repair themselves).

Your body’s busy night shift also includes a necessary dose of collagen production—a must for limiting the look of fine lines and wrinkles as we age, while keeping skin firm in the face of gravity’s inevitable pull. And, as if that wasn’t enough, your skin is also actively regenerating new cells, so you can wake up feeling soft and looking supple.

Young man sleeping on his stomach in bed.

Lack of Sleep Looks Like...

“Are you sick?” “You look exhausted.”  “Is everything okay?”

Sound familiar? Phrases like these—from the mouths of misguided, but well-meaning bystanders—can strike a feeling of terror that instantly washes over you from top to toe. “What’s wrong? Is there something on my face? When was the last time I looked in a mirror?” While it’s never okay to comment on someone’s appearance, it’s impossible to ignore the cold hard truth that sometimes, you just can’t hide from a bad night’s rest.

Unfortunately, lack of sleep doesn’t just leave you foggy and groggy. Not enough shuteye can also result in dull, lifeless skin the next morning. Why? There are plenty of reasons. While you snooze, your body should be ramping up blood flow to your face. Therefore, not enough sleep can mean you miss out on the healthy glow we associate with being well-rested or “fresh-faced.” 

More noticeable dark circles and heavier-than-usual under eye bags can be another sign of inadequate shuteye. Lack of sleep can also disrupt your skin’s pH levels, so you may notice that the skin on your face is significantly drier, which can in turn exaggerate the appearance of wrinkles. If all this doesn’t seem like enough already, sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but we’re here to tell you that consistently skimping on beauty rest can lead to increased skin aging over time.

HOW TO: Maximize Your Zzz

LIV Fam, you know us well enough to know we aren’t about to dump all of this information on you without sharing some tips and tricks to make the most of the sleep you do get! While not enough sleep can take a toll on your skin, sometimes fun with friends, crying babies, or working late, can mean seven to nine hours just isn’t possible. Here are a few ways to mitigate the not-so-fun side effects and support your skin while you sleep, even if it’s not as long as you’d like. 

  1. Wash On, Wash Off: You’ve heard it before, but cleansing your face at bedtime is the best way to set your skin up for a successful night. Use a facial cleanser to remove the layers of sweat, SPF, pollution, makeup, and so much more that have accumulated on your face throughout the day. Follow things up with your serum and/or moisturizer of choice and rest easy knowing you’ve done the best you can for your beautiful face—after all, you only get one! 

  2. Clean Your Sheets: Never in the history of the world has a situation been helped by a dirty pillowcase. That’s right, even if you follow our advice and diligently cleanse your skin every night before bedtime, you’ll still need to wash your sheets regularly. Hot tip: if you can’t be bothered to strip the whole bed, try swapping out just your pillowcases for clean ones at least once a week. Your skin will thank you. 

  3. Heads Up!: Sleep posture, as in how you lay down for the night, is an important part of how you look and feel when you wake up the next morning. Stomach sleepers, be warned! Even if you only manage to get four hours of sleep, you’re not doing your face any favors by squishing it up against a pillow all night. When it comes to sleep wrinkles, side sleepers aren’t totally safe either. At the end of the day (see what we did there?), sleeping on your back is the ideal position for your skin in the long run. Also, the higher the pillow, the better the beauty rest. 

Now you know how you can support your skin while you sleep, but what if you’re still struggling with sleep altogether? Everyone has the occasional sleepless night, but there are things we can all do to help ourselves wind down and get to bed. Check out our recent blog for everything you need to know about sleep hygiene. While you’re at it, we’ve got a handful of LIV-approved mindfulness tips geared towards helping you wind down for bed. Next time you find yourself tossing and turning, try Sleep Multiplier, our proprietary blend of Melatonin, L-Theanine, and Valerian root. Sleep Multiplier is powered by CTT® to help you eazzz into sleep faster and wake up feeling (and looking) refreshed. 

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