Sleep deprivation has many short term and long-term consequences. The clinically apparent ones include – sunken eyes, dark circles and bags under the eyes, swollen and puffy eyes, wrinkles and fine lines on the face, dehydrated and pale skin etc. Inadequate sleep (less than 7 to 9 hours) also impact skin hydration, collagen growth, wound healing, and skin texture. Sleep deprived people also have higher rate of inflammation, that result in outbreaks of eczema, skin allergies, acne and psoriasis (Axelsson et al, 2010).

The present article highlights the importance of sleep on the skin. Adequate and good sleep is essential for regenerating, repairing, and restructuring the skin. It can be called a foundation on health can be built and maintained.

Sleep and the Skin

The deprivation of sleep impacts badly the integrity and composition skin. It elevates glucocorticoid production. The increase in cortisol inhibits fibroblast function and elevates matrix metalloproteinases (gelatinase, collagenase).

Matrix metalloproteinases accelerates elastin and collagen breakdown, which is important for skin integrity, and fastens the aging process by reducing skin thickness, increasing fine lines and wrinkles, decreasing skin elasticity and, inhibiting growth factors.

There is an important connection between healthy skin and sleep.

During the first 3 hours of sleep: the body produces from the pituitary gland, the human growth hormone. With age, this growth hormone becomes important for the maintenance of radiant and youthful skin. The skin is unable to restore and repair from daily damage without this hormone and thereby induces and expedites the aging process.

The middle 2 hours of sleep is when hormone melatonin increases. Melatonin regulates our circadian rhythm (sleep pattern and sleep-wake cycle), slows down and even reverses UV- induces damage, and also acts as an antioxidant that helps safeguard the skin and cellular DNA from damaging free radicals.

The final 3 hours, or during the active REM sleep stage, the stress hormone known as cortisol levels decrease. The temperature of the skin also reduces to its lowest point allowing muscles to become immobile and relax, offering skin its deepest restoration and recovery of the night.

Skin's luminosity increases post-rest. That is why getting more shut eye is the secret tip to your best skin yet.

Benefits of adequate sleep on the skin

1. Adequate sleep reverses the ageing process

Chronic sleep loss can result in fine lines, dark circles under the eyes and lackluster skin. Inadequate sleep causes the body to release more of a stress hormone known as cortisol. In increases concentrations, cortisol damages and breaks down skin collagen – a protein that keeps the skin elastic and smooth.

Deep and proper sleep allows the growth hormones to repair the damaged cells (collagen protein). During proper sleep, the anabolic metabolism takes place that involves new molecules to build up rather than the catabolic metabolism in which the molecules break down for subsequent re-use. The anabolic activity promotes the idea that restoration and growth of cells take place during sleep (Oyetakin‐White et al, 2015).

Body’s quiescence during SWS (slow-wave sleep or deep sleep) allows skin damage repair, slows down the ageing process and promotes physical healing. The body’s homeostatic processes (the stabilization, regulation and maintenance of the body’s internal environment) take place automatically, and many of these processes take place during sleep, when the stresses and pressures of everyday life is reduced and there are opportunity and time to devote to this kind of maintenance and stabilization work. Body’s internal environment plays a huge role in maintaining and enhancing skin health (Sundelin et al, 2017).

2. Proper sleep ensures brighter skin and less acne

Inadequate sleep increases the release of a stress hormone called cortisol, that encourages inflammation, flare-ups in conditions like psoriasis, acne, and even eczema. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night for most adults. Less than that can play a role in the development of dark circles under the eyes, sagging skin and lines and wrinkles.

The reason behind this is that during sleep, the body releases fluids in tissues and organs which need replenishing, while getting rid of excess fluids from other areas. Skimping on sleep results in under-the-eye bags (pockets of fluid), increase the inflammation and destabilization of your immune system, and causing aggravation of skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema and acne (Bilgiç et al, 2016).

Old and damaged skin tissues and cells make your complexion look dark and dull. Damaged skin cells also result in clogging your pores and causing breakouts. Adequate 7-9 hours’ sleep helps in building new cells. And, when you get proper sleep, your skin complexion starts to look more luminous and clearer.

3. Brighter, less puffy eyes and no dark circles under the eyes

Sleep deprivation results in pesky dark circles under the eyes. The reason for this is that inadequate sleep results in dilation of blood vessels and puffy eyes. When blood circulation is not proper and blood is not flowing well – it collects under eyes and becomes visible, as the skin under the eyes is very thin.

Discoloration under eyes is also a result of age, genes, and increased brown pigment in skin that is due to tan in the sun (melanin). In such cases, inadequate sleep makes your under-eye problem worse. Logging enough sleep (7-9 hours) helps the body function in a proper manner and also reduces those pesky purples and blue shadows under the eyes. While sleeping, if the head is elevated with an extra pillow at night, it helps is reducing swelling around the eyes (Sundelin et al, 2013).

4. Adequate sleep keeps the skin balanced, hydrated, reduces redness and breakouts

Lack of sleep has a negative impact on the moisture levels in the skin. Inadequate sleep lowers down complexion’s pH levels thereby reducing skin moisture. This makes skin look less youthful and glow less. Also, the skin is unable to get rid of toxins without adequate hydration, triggering irritation and inflammation.

Reduced skin pH levels result in an imbalance, dryness, making the skin unable to produce the moisture it needs. It also causes unnecessary redness, making skin uneven and triggering breakouts. Proper amount of sleep keeps the skin at a slightly acidic level (keeping moisture in and bacteria out) and is an absolute critical component.

When properly hydrated, the skin becomes radiant and fresh, it makes skin moisturized helping it to appear more supple and plump, but it also addresses the surface dullness of the skin by combating the buildup of dead skin cells (Popkin, D'Anci & Rosenberg, 2010)

5. Adequate sleep after exercising eliminates stress from your face

Lack of sleep does not allow your body to function properly and the aftermath is visible on the face in the form of dull complexion, breakouts and, dry and flaky skin. In case you are stressed, the amount of oil (or sebum) in your skin is “directly influenced by stress,”. The more stressed (emotional and physical) you feel, the more active the sebaceous glands in the skin become. This is due to increase in the cortisol levels in the body. Exercising is recommended between the hours of 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. The reason is that exercising releases endorphins (mood elevators) that help in releasing stress, and sets you up for a good night's sleep because it not only reduces stress, you will be even more tired and ready for bed (Dolezal et al, 2017).

Some tips for better sleep for better skin

• Follow a routine bedtime and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night

• Keep up your sleep hygiene to promote a good night’s rest.

• Do not consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes before bed.

• Wash your face with plain water properly and remove all makeup before you go to bed to promote a flawless complexion

• Use high thread count sheets and pillowcases so that there is no pulling on the skin


Skimp on sleep and your complexion can look ashen, drab, or lifeless. Catching a healthy amount of ZZZs aids in replenishing skin’s various layers, resulting in a flawless and radiant complexion.

The body boosts blood flow to the skin when you snooze, which means you are waking up to a healthy glow on your skin. Beauty sleep is not a myth. When you sleep, your skin rests too, recharging and recuperating from a day’s worth of activity.

The body produces more collagen to keep your skin youthful, healthy and smooth and. The stress hormone termed as cortisol reduces while you are asleep and the body and skin is restored through cellular regeneration. Quality sleep for the recommended 7-9 hours a night is paramount to overall health and well-being, and skin is no exception.


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