For years it has been studied and stated that rest is an important part of good health, and beauty sleep has long been touted as a common sense component of looking fresh and youthful. Lack of rest is linked to several problems and now beauty sleep may have scientific basis as well: one recent study demonstrated that sleep deprivation actually can make your skin appear older and affect function.
Skin is an important part of your body; it protects you from environmental pollutants, keeps bad stuff out, and maintains physiological homeostasis. Just like other organs of the body, the skin too has cells, tissues and proteins that must recover, repair and renew to remain healthy. Sleeping is a natural process that helps the body grow and renew its multiple physiological systems, your skin included. According to other recent studies, a person who does not sleep well can be more susceptible to several problems such as obesity, depression, diabetes, cancer, immune deficiency and others, which can all affect looks and more importantly, long-term health.
Study Finds Links Between Sleep & Skin Aging
New research conducted by scientists and physicians at the University Hospitals of Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has revealed possible links between a lack of beauty sleep and skin aging. The objective of the study, funded by Estee Lauder, was to determine how sleep affects both physical skin appearance and perceived skin appearance.
The subjects in the beauty sleep study were 60 women between the ages of 30 and 49. Half of these women belonged to the poor sleep category while the rest of the women were good sleepers. The classification of categories was made on the basis of the average duration of sleep and a questionnaire based assessment. A variety of tests were conducted on these women to assess the relation between skin aging and sleep deprivation.
Findings of the Study
The study demonstrated that those subjects that were poor sleepers showed increased signs of skin aging. The skin of these subjects was slower to recover from damage such as the absorption of ultraviolet radiation and disruption of the skin barrier compared to the good sleepers. Sleep deprived subjects also showed signs of premature aging of the skin and worse self perception.
What the Statistics Say About Beauty Sleep
Researchers used a variety of tests to measure skin aging, including tests that measure hydration, elasticity, and recovery to determine if beauty sleep was real or conjecture. They also asked participants to complete self-measures of appearance satisfaction and scored Body Mass Index ratings as well.
The SCINEXA Test
Data demonstrated in the study showed significant results with several glaring differences between those that get plenty of beauty sleep those that do not. The study used the SCINEXA scoring system to measure the clinical signs of aging from internal and external sources, with higher scores pointing to greater signs of aging. Tests revealed good sleepers scored 2.2 for internal aging whereas the poor sleepers’ average on the scoring system was 4.4. Signs of intrinsic aging include fine lines, slackening of skin, reduced elasticity and uneven pigmentation which were more visible in poorer sleepers. However, there was not much difference in the signs of extrinsic aging such as sunburn freckles and coarse wrinkles between the two groups.
Skin Recovery Tests
The beauty sleep subjects were also exposed to other tests; the Transepidermal Water Loss Test (TEWL) and the Tape Stripping test (TS). With the TEWL, the researchers wanted to find the skin’s ability to act as a barrier against moisture loss. They used the TS method to disrupt the skin barrier to determine how well subjects’ skin retained moisture and recovered. The TEWL of poor sleepers was higher at 0.041 as compared to 0.039 for the good sleepers. This shows that the skin of the good sleepers was capable of faster repair and recovery than the poor sleepers.
Researchers also tested participants’ ability to recover from ultraviolet light exposure, similar to what we receive from the sun. The study reported significant differences between the groups, with well-rested people showing more efficient recovery.
Participants’ BMI’s were also recorded. This measure contrasts height and weight with expected values, categorizing the results by normal, overweight or obese. More normal and overweight people were seen among the good sleepers, however the greater proportion of obese participants were classified as poor sleepers (44% versus 23%).
The study also asked participants to report in a survey how they perceived their own looks, with good sleepers consistently reporting higher satisfaction. Poor sleepers were especially likely to perceive themselves as less satisfied with their appearance and complexion.
Study Recap & Impression
This study on beauty sleep revealed significant relationships between rest quality and skin aging and function. The tests conducted and the results obtained point out that poor quality of rest can make skin appear older and reduce women’s confidence in their own attractiveness. Sleep deprivation also may result in weakening the ability of the skin to repair itself, which can contribute to additional aging. Therefore, it is important for all to understand that having a good night of beauty sleep is important not just for the renewal of the tired cells and tissues but also for looking good and feeling good inside and out.
Tips You Can Use to Maximize Beauty Sleep
Seven to nine hours of beauty sleep can be one of the best tools in your arsenal for keeping your skin looking great and for preventing premature aging. But in addition to the superficial, the potential health side effects of sleep deprivation on your heart, brain, hormones, stress levels and numerous other systems provide in even more reason to turn in early. Now that you know just how important beauty sleep is, here are some tips that can help you sleep better, look better, and feel better.
- Regular Schedule: it is important to stick to the natural and regular sleep-wake cycle of your body. Set a regular bedtime that ensures you get at least 7-8 hours of beauty sleep per night. It is best to maintain the same schedule during the weekends and days off as well to avoid disruptions to your body’s rhythms..
- Relaxing Atmosphere: a peaceful and relaxing environment facilitates quality rest, so remove or eliminate disruptions as much as possible. If noise is the issue, use a sound machine or earplugs. Try blackout drapes, dim lights and cover any lights on TVs or other appliances to keep the room dark. Cool room temperatures usually prove best for sleep. Cozy bedding and a comfortable, good quality mattress can also help you sleep better and feel better.
- Regular Exercise and Healthy Diet: a healthy diet with regular exercise improves overall well-being and can contribute to better quality rest. One study showed that over time, regular moderate exercise actually improved sleep as much as 1.25 hours. Also, try to avoid heavy meals, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine close to bed.
- Relaxing Bedtime Rituals: prepare your body and mind for rest using a ritual that works for you. Some ideas include listening to soft music, reading a book or magazine, light stretching or yoga, taking a warm bath, winding down with a favorite hobby or simply relaxing and letting stress go. Avoid watching TV, laptops, phones, and tablets as the lights can keep you up longer.
Sleep is something we all know we need, and recent studies continue to highlight just how crucial this simple activity is for health and wellness. Yet another reason to get enough rest, the results from the Case Western Reserve University study highlight that people who get quality beauty sleep have fewer signs of skin aging, better recovery and feel better about themselves. Rather than spending big bucks on creams and other cures, first try committing to 7 to 9 hours of beauty sleep, as getting in the habit of doing so can improve your skin’s function and appearance in addition to numerous other health benefits.