Sleep is as vitally important for our skin as it is our physical and emotional wellbeing. While we sleep, blood flow to the skin increases, damage from free radical production is repaired and collagen production increases, reducing wrinkles and age-related change. This means that night-time - those 6, 7 or 8 hours of sleep we manage to steal - gives our skin the opportunity to recover from any day time damage.
A lack of sleep, on the other hand, can seriously impact the look of your skin from dark circles and puffy eyes to an uneven, blotchy complexion. Sleep deprivation affects collagen production, skin hydration and wound healing. It also increases levels of cortisol leading to inflammation of the skin and a deterioration in skin quality.
Ideally, we’d all be getting the optimum amount of sleep each night for our body and mind to regenerate and feel rested but this is rarely the case. Insomnia can be a particular problem in the perimenopausal period. Long-term sleep deprivation can be serious, affecting much more than your skin, and this is something you should be discussing with your GP. However, for those random nights or stretches of bad sleep, there are ways to help and restore and regenerate the skin.
- Before you go to bed, double cleanse to remove makeup, SPF residue, pollutants and oils which build up throughout the day.
- Use a retinoid to increase collagen production, accelerate DNA repair, reduce fine lines and improve the skin’s texture.
- Apply an antioxidant serum to counteract the effects of oxidative stress on the skin and neutralise damaging free radicals. A hyaluronic acid serum or moisturiser also helps to keep skin hydrated.
- Try to sleep on your back if you can! Sleeping on either side of your face accelerates volume loss and reduces drainage on that side of the face. Try to sleep with your head elevated on one to two pillows for improved drainage and to prevent puffy eyes.
- Establish a good bedtime routine, switching off phones, laptops and any blue-light devices at least half an hour before you sleep.