By Barbara Bishop
I need my beauty sleep! We always say it, but is there some truth to sleeping that helps us be more beautiful? I’ve been developing a habit of sleeping only about five to six hours a night. It leaves me tired, with a little less energy that I used to have. But less beautiful? I set out on the Internet to find some answers.
What I found in common among all the Internet research I conducted, was that sleep may be the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Your body repairs itself and recovers while you snooze, and that leads to a long list of benefits for your looks. (Maybe I should take a nap now.)
The key is to get enough shut-eye, and that means seven to nine quality hours each night. If you’re getting fewer than six hours, it’s likely affecting your appearance, according to an article I just read in WebMD. (Yikes, I’m going to sleep at 9 p.m. tonight!)
They say to start getting one to three more hours of shut-eye and you could see some improvement in as little as a day. Keep it up, and within two to three weeks, people will start to notice the way you look. (Maybe with enough sleep I can cease the ongoing Botox injections…)
According to a bevvy of experts I found on the internet, here are the six beauty benefits of getting enough rest they they all unanimously agree upon:
- Fewer Wrinkles
Skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which prevents sagging. More collagen means skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle. Only getting five hours a night can lead to twice as many fine lines as sleeping seven would. It also leaves skin drier, which can make lines more visible.
- A Glowing Complexion
Your body boosts blood flow to the skin while you sleep, which means you wake to a healthy glow. Skimp on sleep and your complexion can look drab, ashen, or lifeless. (Not for me any longer!)
- Brighter, Less Puffy Eyes
Chances are, you’ve had dark circles or bags under your eyes after a night of not enough sleep. (I know I have.) Puffy eyes are one of the first things we see when we don’t sleep. Get enough and you’ll have less puffiness under your eyes. Also they say to stay well-hydrated and elevate your head with an extra pillow at night, too. That can also help reduce swelling. (And in my case, snoring.)
- Healthier, Fuller Hair
Hair loss, breakage, damage, and even growth can all be affected by lack of sleep. Hair follicles gain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from blood flow. Since blood flow decreases when we’re short on shut-eye, hair gets less food, it weakens, and it has difficulty growing. Lack of sleep can also lead to more stress, Wexler says. “Stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can cause you to lose hair.” (God knows I can cut down on my stress-level.)
- Happier, Healthier Appearance
Being short on sleep can cause the corners of your mouth to droop, making you look sadder than you do after a good night’s rest. When you’re tired, your facial expressions change in subtle and consistent ways. We tend to furrow and frown more, I discovered. Red, swollen eyes, dark circles, and sagging eyelids, are also signs that you’re not getting enough sleep. (Just this is enough to convince me to get more shut-eye!)
- Products Work Better
Your skin can focus on repairing itself while you sleep, since it isn’t defending itself from sun and free radicals (harmful molecules from the environment). Blood flow is also more consistent, and this helps your skin benefit from the flesh-repairing ingredients in your beauty products. Skin also loses more water when you sleep than it does during the day. Apply a creamier moisturizer before bed and drink plenty of water during the day to help your complexion stay hydrated overnight. (At $90 or more a pop, I’m going to make damn sure my beauty products are working as well as they can!)
See you later, I’m going to take my afternoon nap now!