By Carlos Perez
We don’t sleep enough. As a student, I’ve had countless nights staying up late to study for exams or to finish assignments. However, the research is in and it says… that this sucks. Not only is it terrible for your physical and mental health, but it isn’t doing you any favours in terms of skincare and beauty either.
When you’re sleep-deprived, your body operates at a heightened level of stress than normal. As a result, you produce more cortisol which increases inflammation in the body. This increased inflammation can manifest in acne breakouts and increased skin irritability.
Unfortunately, a large amount of inflammatory cells breaks down collagen and hyaluronic acid, both of which are supposed to help your skin look youthful and glowing.
If you are prone to or have any immune-related skin issues, sleep deprivation can also make these worse. This is because the increased inflammation from poor sleep negatively affects the body’s ability to regulate the immune system, allowing these issues to flare up more easily.
During sleep, your body is rebalancing its hydration. So the skin is retaining moisture and allowing the excess water to be processed for removal. However, poor sleep can counter-act this balance, resulting in those ‘beautiful’ bags under your eyes. Not only that, but you are more susceptible to dryness of skin and high visibility of wrinkles. Yikes!
The best way to start improving your beauty through sleep is to develop a solid bedtime routine to ensure that you are getting a minimum of 8 hours of high-quality sleep. So let’s break it down:
- Don’t eat 2-3 hours before bed.
- Keep your sleeping conditions cool. Your body needs to cool itself to 18 degrees Celsius to sleep. That’s why it’s easier to sleep when cool than too warm.
- Try and limit time in front of screens, switching them off 30 minutes before bed. At the very least activate ‘Night Shift’ mode to minimise the amount of blue light coming off the screen. Too much light before sleep messes with your melatonin production, a chemical your brain produces to help you go to sleep.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day, but not too much at night. Also, avoid caffeine in the late afternoon onwards.
- Ensure you use the bed only for sleep to program your body to know it’s time to sleep (eg avoid eating, studying etc)
- Structure a specific routine so you can trick your brain into thinking its bedtime. For example:
a) Brush your teeth 30 minutes before sleep
b) Put down all electronic devices
c) Read a book (yes, a book. Not on an iPad) under a warm damp light
e) Go to bed
To finish I will say that sleep can be a very serious problem for many individuals. We at FABSOC are just discussing concepts related to beauty. If you have any serious problems with sleep or the diseases mentioned, please see a medical professional.