Get More Shut-Eye
You don’t snooze, you lose. A new study shows that not getting enough sleep may be the reason why you look older than you really are.
Presented at the International Dermatology Meeting in Scotland, scientists demonstrated that poor sleepers have more signs of natural skin aging (fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and sagging skin) and recover slower from ultraviolet (UV) radiation (which attributes to deep wrinkles, sunburn, and freckles) when compared to good sleepers.
The study involved 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49, with half of participants falling into the poor quality sleep category, based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality over a one-month period.
The researchers found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from environmental stressors to the skin. For example, recovery from sunburn was more sluggish in poor quality sleepers, with erythema (redness) remaining higher over 72 hours, indicating that inflammation is less efficiently resolved. Poor sleepers also demonstrated that their skin took longer to repair from moisture-sucking situations (e.g. humidity); the researchers tested this with an epidermal water loss test, which involved the scientists putting adhesive tape on the skin of the participants and tugging it off to promote skin dryness. This tape test helps researchers gauge the ability of the skin to serve as an effective barrier against moisture loss. Results? Good quality sleepers repaired 30% higher than poor quality sleepers (14% vs. -6%) demonstrating that they repair the damage more quickly.
Why it happens
Skin functions as a barrier from external stressors such as environmental toxins and sun-induced DNA damage. Lack of sleep creates stressful conditions that raise internal toxins, including glycotoxins. These toxins are a major cause of skin aging, deregulating natural repair processes that occur during sleep.
Not surprisingly the study also showed that poor quality sleepers were significantly more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). 23% of good quality sleepers were obese compared to 44% of poor quality sleepers. Ever wonder why you crave simple carbs like pastries, cookies, and pasta, on days when you had a poor night’s sleep? There is a connection! So do yourself a favour–for the sake of your epidermis and body–and aim for the recommended eight hours of quality sleep each night.
Renew a dull complexion while you sleep with a moisturizing night cream that’s packed with antioxidants. We like Kellett Skincare’s Reflect Overnight Recovery Cream ($95).