Sleep and your Skin

Sufficient sleep is important to maintain general health, but research over the last five years indicates it has a greater impact on skin health than we thought.

Sleep patterns and quality impact weight; mood and skin, as well as the body’s ability to heal.

The circadian cycle or rhythm of the body’s sleep/wake cycle is responsible for co-ordinating the repair of damaged cells and DNA in the body, which mainly occurs during rest periods.

Research has shown that as people age, the genes that affect the circadian cycle get out of synch, slowing cell repair.

Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression, and insomnia and depression tend to fee each other. It can be difficult to establish a healthy sleep pattern, particularly if you are anxious and have trouble ‘switching off your brain’ at night.

Lack of Sleep Ages Your Skin

Most people have experienced waking up after a poor nights rest with puffy eyes; dull skin and feeling exhausted. Chronic sleep loss leads to lacklustre skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone. When we’re young, human growth hormone promotes growth. As we age, it helps increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones.

During deep sleep-also called ‘slow wave’ sleep – the growth hormone is released, and it’s part of normal tissue repair. If we’re not getting quality sleep, it becomes evident on our face.

Set yourself up for a Good Night’s Sleep

Developing a healthy sleep routine can help set you up for a good night’s rest. Some people find a massage once a week helps, and it’s generally acknowledged that light exercise a few hours before bedtime helps you relax.

Alcohol doesn’t help – nor does a room that’s too warm; research indicates that the body needs to reach cooler temperature for maximum natural tiredness.

If you have a TV in your bedroom; remove it, and try to get into a regime of winding down for the evening before you actually lie down so that you don’t bring anxiety to your bed.

For more information and to discover how to help tired skin revive and refresh, book a consultation with Dr. Lisa Fay at Cosmetic Doctor in Stillorgan, Dublin. As a medical doctor, she can also provide advice and help for people who are having trouble sleeping.

Call Cosmetic Doctor on 01 685 3100 or see www.cosmeticdoctor.ie