If you’ve ever stared yourself down in the mirror after a poor night’s sleep, you know that too few Zzz’s can make you look…not great.
You know what we’re talking about. The zombie stare, the dark undereye circles, the sallow skin, and the not-so-artfully disheveled hair. After pulling an all-nighter (or tossing and turning from too much caffeine, an uncomfortable mattress, or a furry friend crawling around in your bed), even the most beautiful among us will start the day looking pretty wrecked.
Happily, the opposite is just as true. Dutifully log a full eight hours of sleep each night, and you’ll automatically reap some sweet aesthetic benefits like looking more energetic and youthful.
Here we’ll take a look at why sleep is essential for helping you look your best, the ways that getting enough shuteye (or not) can impact your appearance and how to make sure you’re getting the beauty rest that you deserve.
Why No Sleep is a Bad Look
It’s not just your brain that goes into repair mode when you venture off into dreamland each night. Your body does, too. And that, of course, includes your skin, which grows fresh new cells to replace the old, worn out ones.
But when you miss out on sleep or sleep poorly, your cells have a harder time performing the nightly maintenance work. As a result, you end up looking sort of saggy, wrinkled, and generally unwell.
You get those puffy raccoon bags, too. That’s because lack of sleep causes your blood vessels to expand, which results in blood pooling under your eyes that look like dark, unhealthy circles.
There’s also the fact that too little shuteye leaves you feeling stressed and unable to focus, so you end up looking weirdly tense and spaced out. Not exactly the picture of refreshed, energetic gorgeousness, right?
Of course, all that can start to happen after just a night or two of bad sleep. If the no-sleep thing becomes a regular habit, you end up more likely to gain weight, get sick, and become depressed. None of which are likely to represent your best look.
How Sleep Helps You Look Your Best
OK, so skimping on sleep can leave you looking pretty bad. But how can regular dates with the Sandman help you put your best face forward? Right this way…
- You’ll have fewer wrinkles. While we sleep, our bodies pump out human growth hormones that help stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that helps your skin stay supple and elastic. It’s basically like a free version of those expensive anti-aging creams.
- Your skin will be clearer and more luminous. Old skin cells can deaden your complexion as well as clog your pores, resulting in breakouts. But when you sleep, those old cells get replaced with fresh, new ones. The result? A clearer, more radiant complexion.
- You’ll have stronger hair and nails. When your cells can adequately repair themselves and you’re producing enough collagen, your hair is more likely to be strong and shiny and your nails less likely to be get brittle or crack.
- Your eyes will look bright and awake. Lack of sleep can cause blood to pool under your eyes, leaving you with those dark, puffy bags that practically scream to the world, “I’M RUNNING ON FUMES.” Plus, the whites of your eyes tend to turn sort of red when you’re tired—the way they might look if you were smoking a certain illegal substance. Log enough shuteye, and both of those problems disappear.
- You’ll be more likely to maintain a healthy weight. When you regularly get the sleep you need, you’re more likely to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, people whose sleep schedules are off by just one hour are 33% more likely to become overweight or obese than those who regularly get enough snooze time.
- You’ll flash more big, bright smiles. Sure, it sounds a little cheesy, but a friendly smile really is everyone’s best accessory. But if you’re stressed or depressed—as is often true for people who don’t sleep enough—you’re a lot less likely to be flashing those pearly whites.
Getting the Beauty Sleep You Need
To reap the bountiful beauty benefits, experts recommend regularly getting eight hours of shuteye per night. Though if you’re one of the people who feels rested on just seven hours, that’s cool. Chances are, if you feel energized and awake, you’re going to look your best, too.
But if seven or eight hours is good, does that mean more sleep is even better for beauty? Nope. Surprisingly, sleeping too much can actually increase the breakdown of skin cells, dermatologists say. (Which, honestly, is a relief. Because it would probably be impossible for most of us to squeeze in nine or more hours of sleep.)
Lastly, it’s important to make sure that the sleep you do get is the best possible quality by minimizing disruptions and distractions. Things like alcohol can cause your sleep to be fragmented and seriously dry out your skin, resulting in a snooze session that’s anything but refreshing.
And if you know you’re a light sleeper, be proactive. Wear earplugs if you live with roommates or in a noisy neighborhood, and block out light with blackout shades or an eye mask. Hello, gorgeous!
Do you have any tricks for getting a great night of beauty sleep? Do you feel better about how you look after a great night of sleep?
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.