You know that sleep is good for your health and your beauty routine. Along with keeping your skin from looking tired, sleep also has an effect on the elasticity and firmness of your skin – the cheapest anti-aging formula around! As you sleep, you reduce cortisol levels; high cortisol levels damage the collagen in your skin, resulting in wrinkles, so low cortisol levels are ideal for maintaining a youthful appearance. Knowing that sleep is good for us overall is one thing, but how we sleep is also a factor in the equation. You may be blocking your beauty sleep efforts by engaging in sleeping habits that actually leave your skin worse off after a full night’s sleep.
- Sleeping Position
Optimal beauty sleep is best achieved on your back. Although stomach or side may feel comfortable, these positions are one of the biggest culprits causing face wrinkles. As you press your face into your pillow, this pressure causes fine lines, not to mention the friction of your skin against the material causes facial blemishes and sometimes breakouts.
Also, as you lay face down, you encourage increased blood flow to your face, which causes fluid build-up in your face, leading to that puffy appearance in the morning, especially around your eyes. Sleeping on your back with your head slightly elevated allows gravity to do the work for you, keeping your face free of excess fluid and out of your pillow.
2. Cake Face
Do not go to bed with makeup still caked on your face! This will clog your pores, cause blemishes and breakouts deplete your collagen, again leading to wrinkles. It can also cause eye irritation and if the pores around your lash follicles get clogged, can lead to styes. It also dries out your skin and further inhibits the absorption of beneficial skincare products, as it forms a barrier that prevents penetration of the skin’s surface – meaning your moisturizer won’t get through. There are plenty of basic makeup removers available, but the reviews of Elemis (the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm in particular) are fantastic. Might be worth a shot! In general, this nasty habit severely compromises your skin quality. Figure out a good skincare routine that includes cleansing and moisturizing before bed and stick to it.
If you aren’t getting enough good quality sleep, you are doing a disservice to your skin. This can be due to lifestyle choices, like diet – alcohol, caffeine, and sugar all compromise sleep quality or disrupt your sleep cycle – and pulling too many late nights, either to finish work or because you’re a socialite who likes to party. “A little party never killed nobody,” as Fergie likes to chant, but it will do a number on your skin. Sleep deprivation will cause your skin to swell and will also cause skin discoloration. You need good quality sleep, usually around 8 hours a night, and sound sleep when you are not moving for your skin to properly repair itself; this includes making new collagen and improving circulation to reduce puffiness.
When you toss and turn, your skin cannot repair damage; this usually leaves you with thinned skin under your eyes and visible dark circles. When you sleep in a good position on a supportive mattress, like the options that The Telegraph recommends, you can reduce tossing and turning and allow your skin to get the regenerative sleep that it needs.
4. Sleep Hygiene
If you do achieve 8 hours of sleep a night, that’s fantastic! But then think of what you do for the other 16 or so hours of your day. Usually this includes being out and about and collecting dirt, pollution, grease, and grime on your skin, which all get transferred to the bedding that you’re sleeping 8 hours in. To avoid the bacterial transfer that will cause skin irritation, inflammation, and breakouts, plan to wash your sheets and bedding at least once a week to rid it of all oils and impurities.
5. Temperature Control
Although you may be tempted to crank the heat on a cold winter’s night, this can not only disturb your quality of sleep, making you wake often or find it difficult to fall asleep, but it will also dry out your skin. Your room temperature should be a comfortable 68°F or 20°C. You will find that you sleep more deeply when the temperature of the room is slightly cooler. Combat feeling cold by having the right bedding to keep you warm enough to sleep soundly.
If you simply must increase the temperature because you are just about shivering – which is also not conducive to restful sleep – running a humidifier in the background can also help to combat the drying effect of the warm air on your skin.