You might be surprised to learn that the key to unlocking great skin is not in your medicine cabinet; it’s your bed. The benefits of sleep for skin have been validated enough to turn the idea of beauty rest into an actual skin care weapon.
A good night’s rest offers more than sweet dreams and a clear head, it is directly related to improving the tone, texture and clarity of your skin. Similar to recovery days in a fitness regimen, your body uses the time you are asleep to repair itself on a deep cellular level.
During the day, your skin is constantly working to keep you protected from the sun, rain or wind. At night, it switches into healing and restoration mode. When your sleep schedule is interrupted, the result is plainly obvious with puffiness, red splotches, and bags under your eyes.
So, what is to blame for your bad skin day?
The scientific answer to your bad skin day is an increase in cortisol production. Cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, increases inflammation and aggravates existing skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Truth is, late nights are inevitable, so when they happen, take extra care to get your sleep schedule and skin back on track. Fight the temptation to pour another cup of coffee. Caffeine may seem like your ace in the hole, but it dehydrates your body and reduces skin-enhancing vitamins and minerals. It also leads to an increase in the production of inflammatory stress hormones.
What can you do to help your skin today?
Extra water, green tea and exercise are all healthy and skin-friendly substitutes. The idea of working out is often more exhausting than your actual workout routine. Tiredness cannot be your reason to skip the gym because activity paired with a healthy dinner and accurate water consumption (but not in the hour before you go to bed) will help get you back to the golden number of eight hours of sleep a night.
Once you have regulated your sleep schedule, the benefits will be yours for the taking, but consider one more piece of advice: would you take a long shower and dry yourself with a dirty towel? No, then why take measures and spend money to improve your skin health only to sleep on a bacteria-filled pillowcase? In your sleep you sweat, drool and naturally exfoliate dead skin cells. The next night, you do the same thing and the next and the next. Dermatologists recommend you wash your pillowcases once a week with fragrance-free detergent. For an added but necessary luxury, buy a 100% silk pillowcase for less wrinkles and to really make your bed your favorite part of your skin care regimen.
The fact of the matter is, skin and sleeping often get taken for granted since they are a part of our everyday life. You can either use those hours to help your skin, or hurt it. Take the easy and productive path and you will be on your way to the healthiest complexion you’ve ever had.