How Not Getting Enough Sleep Is Affecting Your Skin


It has always been easy to believe that beauty was associated with sleep. There has been stuff like “sleeping beauty” ,” beauty sleep ” and a lot of other phrases to support this belief. It is infact scientifically proven that while we’re in the land of ZZZs , the body goes to work, repairing and fixing, to ensure that at waking, we’re refreshed and beautiful.

The body does its job pretty well when we are asleep, but when we neglect getting a good night rest, it becomes increasingly difficult for the body to do its job, thus leading to premature aging and a host of other skin problems. It’s not wrong to cancel work, a late night chat with a friend, netflix or a party for your “beauty sleep”- this does not make you mean or lazy, you’re doing it for your health and your skin. You should not take your skin care lightly. How much sleep you get impacts your skin’s health directly and affects how much restoration and repair occurs. If you cannot seem to fall asleep at night, then you should talk to your therapist. Compromised sleep leads to compromised bodily functions, you don’t want that.

What Happens To The Skin While You Are Asleep

In the daytime, the skin does not take a break from protecting itself from attacks it encounters. When the day is over, however, and the night falls, it is time for it to go through what is called a ” recovery”. The recovery period is the period when the skin finds time to repair and regenerate itself. The recovery process goes through several phases.

Phase 1

This phase usually lasts from 9 through to 11p.m. It is known as the evening phase. Once it gets to 9p.m, the skin begins to slow down its activities and is able to absorb treatment . It is also at this phase that DNA repair occurs more effectively. Melatonin , a hormone that induces tiredness and sleepiness is afterwards released. Apart from inducing sleepiness, the hormone works to repair damages inflicted on the skin by the harshness of the UV rays or a polluted environment

Phase 2  

This phase lasts longer, usually from 11p.m through to 6a.m. At this point, another important hormone known as HGH( the human growth hormone) is released. HGH works on accelerating the regeneration and repair of the skin. Cell production is increased, especially between the hours of 12 and 4. The cells produced at this stage are the stem cells of the skin, they’re responsible for producing new cells and replacing the old ones. It is also highly permeable making it absorb whatever is applied onto it. The permeability, however,  has a downside to it- moisture loss is also at its peak. At this phase , the stress hormone also decreases and the temperature of skin reduces, easing the muscles.

By morning,  the waterloss leaves the skin dehydrated,  the DNA repair activity is also reduced and there is a shoot up of the stress hormone cortisol.

Haven known what happens to our skin while we sleep, it is easier to understand what happens when we do not let the skin wind down. Some effects of lack of sleep on the skin includes :

1. Dull Skin

We have seen that during sleep, the cortisol levels decrease. When sleep is skipped , the cortisol levels remain on a high- this can lead to inflammation. The skin’s inflammation has the ability to cause the proteins in the skin to break down, this includes collagen and elastin. With the continuous break down of these proteins, your skin loses its glow. Your skin also appears dull or ashy , because of the lack of oxygen that accompanies exhaustion

2. Worsens Skin Conditions

If you have inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or acne , it is advised that you try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep could increase anxiety levels which in turn escalates skin breakouts. Taking medications without getting enough sleep does very little to help your skin conditions. So in addition to medications, good sleep, good dieting and exercise is key.

3. Skin Imbalance

Lack of sleep also affects the skin moisture and pH levels , causing them to decrease. This in turn lowers the complexion’s pH levels – it is this that causes the skin to lose its lustre and youthful glow.

With the drop of the pH of the skin comes an imbalance that affects the skin’s moisture producing capacity. As a consequence, the skin looks drier as it is dehydrated. The decrease in pH levels of the skin could also lead to inflammations and breakouts.
It is advised that skin care products that prevent loss of
moisture and entrance of bacteria is used ( they keep the skin at an acidic level). Also be sure to monitor the amount of sleep you get constantly , 6-8 hours is good enough.

4. Affects the Immune System

To a large extent, part of the factors that affect the immune system is sleep or lack of it. Lack of good sleep causes the run down of the immune system and it is clear what happens when the immune system is affected.
We know that the immune system is responsible for the protection of the body. As a consequence, when the immune system is run down because of lack of sleep, it becomes increasingly difficult to protect the body from microbes waiting to strike, the skin inclusive. Other diseases can be contracted as well, because of low immune capacity. As an advise, always choose your health over working extra time, only the healthy enjoys money and makes more money.

5. Deprives The Skin of Repair and Rejuvenation

At the time you are asleep, the body is in a state of equilibrium. It is in this state that cells begin to repair and rejuvenate. This means that you deprive your skin cells of the opportunity to get refreshed when you skip your night rest.
A study was conducted to examine loss of water in the skin and its appearance in about sixty women.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that the ones who sleep better have better chances at coping with the causes of skin aging and possess a stronger skin immunity.

With the following points, you should dread skipping sleep time. If you cannot fall asleep still, then 90 minutes before bed,  try to stay away from devices that give off blue light like your phone, TV or PC. Also try to perform activities that would cause you to be tired and sleepy quickly. If these still don’t work,  then you should talk to a therapist.




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