You’re probably already familiar with the hallmarks of a bad night’s sleep – you wake up feeling groggy, disorientated and confused. You stumble towards the mirror in the bathroom and yes, there’s the physical evidence – shiny skin and a brand new array of pimples and spots.
Your immediate reaction might be to reach for your foundation and a strong cup of coffee post haste, but just hold on a minute! Simply concealing the issue doesn’t do anything to solve the underlying cause so today I’m going to take a look at why beauty sleep is so important and how not getting enough can ultimately stimulate a dreaded breakout.
Is beauty sleep real?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES! Just like the rest of the organs in your body, your skin relies on you getting a healthy amount of sleep each night. You might view sleep as a time of rest but for your body, recuperation and maintenance are top of mind. This is a time when your body is detoxifying, removing impurities and focusing on repairing any damaged cells.
Did you know, for example, that while you sleep, your brain is able to detoxify your body 10 times faster than when you’re awake?
This time is incredibly important, especially for acne prone skin. All those toxins and impurities that could potentially clog your pores are being filtered away and your microcirculation even receives a boost, ensuring that plenty of nutrients and antioxidants are getting to your skin, repairing any damage and fighting off any nasty free-radicals.
Collagen, a key structural protein for your skin, is also produced while you sleep keeping your skin strong and healthy and less vulnerable to irritation. Good sleep has even been linked to preventing sugar cravings and improving your immunity, making your skin more resistant to bacteria and pathogens!
What happens to your skin when you’re deprived of sleep?
However, all of this can quickly take a turn for the worse if sleep deprivation enters the picture. This is because a lack of sleep has been associated with increased stress levels and can trigger an inflammatory reaction, inspiring bouts of redness and encouraging the development of pimples and spots.
In more serious cases, sleep deprivation can even trigger your fight or flight reflexes. Your nervous system, unable to distinguish between mild stress and a life or death scenario, will immediately release stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol and redirect nutrients away from your skin towards more important internal organs like your heart and lungs.
Cortisol can cause your skin to secrete more sebum oil, clogging your pores and making you more susceptible to a breakout. You also have to consider that your digestive system will be affected too – after-all, if you’re trying to fight a bear, taking a bathroom break isn’t really an option! This means that toxins won’t be getting expelled from your body and skin-boosting nutrients such as zinc won’t be getting absorbed properly.
All of these toxins now roaming your body will need to get filtered but unfortunately, your liver and kidneys might stumble under this additional workload and your skin as an organ of elimination, might be called in to pick up the slack. The bottom line: all those impurities and toxins are about to permeate your vulnerable skin!
But sleep deprivation doesn’t just stop with your digestive system. Your immunity will be impacted too so your skin may become more vulnerable to pathogens and bacteria – not ideal considering that your skin might already be struggling with its new job – not to mention it can also affect your blood sugar levels too!
What can you do to help?
The answer might be simple but you might struggle to fulfil it. At the end of the day, though, there really isn’t a substitute for a good night’s sleep. Try to get yourself into a consistent sleep pattern and identify what could be preventing you from sleeping in the first place, whether it’s stress or even your diet!
In the meantime, follow our advice concerning your daily skincare routine closely and make sure you’re not exposing your skin to any harsh chemicals or pollutants. Next we’ll be discussing the foods you should and shouldn’t be eating to help improve those irritating acne symptoms!