Sleep is a precious commodity, as many of us come to realise as we get older. Some of us can nod off at the drop of a hat, while others take longer (if at all). Things like travelling for work, socialising and family commitments can cause many of us to put off getting a good eight hours, thinking we’ll just power through with the help of coffee the next day. But lack of sleep isn’t just about feeling tired and groggy the following morning – it can also have a negative effect on your overall health, with its links to obesity and depression being well documented. Not to mention the impact it has on your skin…
How sleep affects the skin
In her book The Skincare Bible, leading consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto explains that the skin doesn’t just function in the same way regardless of time of day.
“Skin is a dynamic organ and provides the interface between our body and the external environment,” she explains. “What our skin endures during the day is very different from what it faces at night… So naturally it follows that the skin may work differently depending on what time of day.”
She notes how our skin is dynamic and that it works in accordance with our circadian rhythm: our body’s own internal 24-hour cycle that regulates sleep (which is why we get jet-lagged, due to circadian rhythm sleep disorder).
This means the processes that take place in our body occur at different times of the day, including when our skin repairs and regenerates itself. “The skin’s circadian rhythm affects nearly all of its functions,” Dr. Mahto writes. “These processes do not proceed at the same rate during the day and show peaks and troughs of activity.”
So if our sleep (and therefore our skin’s circadian rhythm) gets disrupted, it can affect how our skin functions – and if it can’t repair or turnover new skin cells effectively, this can lead to damage and accelerated ageing in the form of wrinkles, lines and pigmentation.
Maximise your skincare routine while you sleep
So for anyone asking – does sleep help you look younger? The answer is a resounding yes! But it’s not just getting 40 winks, it’s using the right products at the right times, working alongside your skin’s own natural rhythm to ensure you get the most out of them.
Created specifically for this reason is the award-winning Rejuvenated H30 Night Repair, which contains hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, as well as natural antioxidants such as algae-derived astaxanthin to help the skin protect itself as you sleep. It also features magnesium, which binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors – these are neurotransmitters responsible for suppressing nerve activity, which can help the brain switch off and the body to go into ‘sleep mode’ quicker.
The skin’s collagen production system, managed by cells called fibroblasts, can also be highly active when we sleep. Rejuvenated’s best-selling Collagen Shots are worth taking before bed, because of the special amino-acids they contain that boost collagen and contribute to firmer, more supple skin. It’s particularly good to use at night, as one of its amino acids called glycine incidentally promotes healthy sleep patterns.
The skin also loses water while you sleep, so to counteract this you can take H30 Hydration just before you head to bed. It contains ionic electrolytes, which encourage the intestines to release water into every area of the body (including your skin), together with hyaluronic acid and cell-renewing antioxidants.
Those with particularly dry or mature skin should also invest in a trusty night cream. Look for one with ingredients such as retinol, which helps to exfoliate and repair the skin at night, as well as hyaluronic acid and glycerine to lock in moisture. (And while you might be tempted to knock back a pint of water just before you hit the pillow, make sure you leave enough time to go to the bathroom before bed, so you’re not woken up in the night by a full bladder!)
How to get good sleep habits nailed down
All of the above will only work properly when you’re getting a decent seven to eight hours of sleep a night, as recommended by The Sleep Council. As many of us know, our sleep cycle is divided into different stages: light sleep (which we can easily wake up from), deep sleep (which can make us feel groggy and disorientated if we’re suddenly woken up) and REM (the stage where we dream). When it comes to which sleep stage is the most important, they’re all pretty crucial, with each cycle lasting one and a half hours – we need to go through all four around five or six times to feel properly rested. When our sleep is disturbed, we go through fewer cycles in a night, so maintaining good sleep habits is key to preventing erratic sleeping patterns. Here are three key points to get you started.
Stick to the same schedule
Going to bed at different times each night will disrupt your body clock, and leave you feeling run down the next morning, so ensure you stick to the same routine and turn the lights out at roughly the same time each night.
Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary
Make sure your bedroom is a calm place, free of clutter and one that your brain associates with sleep (which is why you should ideally not be scrolling through your phone or working from your laptop in bed!). And if you have noisy neighbours or a partner who snores, keep some earplugs handy!
Cut down on stimulants like caffeine and alcohol
It may be tempting to dose up on caffeine to ‘take the edge off’ your tiredness, or have a night cap if you can’t stop your mind racing before bed, but these can play havoc with your natural sleep cycle. It’s best to avoid things like coffee and tea at least eight hours before you go to bed. And while alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, it can interrupt your sleep later on in the night, so if you’re at a party or work event, try to swap to water an hour or so before you leave.
Click here to find out more about Rejuvenated’s range of award-winning supplements to support your skin around the clock.