While it is pretty common knowledge that grabbing a few hours of zzz’s impacts the quality of our skin (hence the term “beauty sleep,” right?), the why and how remain a mystery to most. Dr. Glenn Yarbrough, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatologists, explained it to us this way: “With proper rest, skin is able to repair much of the day-to-day damage as a part of the body’s natural repair cycle.” Let us break it down for you.
The Sleep-Skin Connection
Dr. Robert S. Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine physician and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day, clarifies what happens when our bodies are asleep. “Our brains have a system—the lymphatic system—that flushes out neurotoxins. This is turned on mainly during sleep,” he explains.
But it’s not just that. According to him, our brains also produce body-repairing hormones when we sleep, such as growth hormones, which are necessary for tissue repair and cell regeneration, as well as myelin, the sheath that surrounds and insulates the nerves. “Cortisol, a stress hormone that can break down protein, is also reduced when we sleep,” he adds.
Doesn’t seem convincing enough? Here’s the interesting part: Not getting enough sleep can do more than just leave you with eye bags and dark circles. Over time it can lead to breakouts, wrinkles and sagging skin. “Not getting sufficient sleep essentially puts the body into a state of stress—and the body’s main response to any kind of threat is to release hormones that induce inflammation,” Dr. Yarborough explains. “Skin structures can suffer, and over time skin may become more shallow or hollow-looking in appearance. This leads to more visible wrinkles and sagging skin. Dark lines underneath the eyes and swollen eyes are also common, and the increase in inflammation may even lead to breakouts.”
It’s Not Just About Quantity
While it’s important to sleep enough, it’s also vital to sleep well. “The skin enters into repair mode during the third and fourth stages of your sleep cycle, commonly referred to as ‘deep sleep,’” says Dr. Yarborough. “During these stages, ‘beauty sleep’ occurs as certain body tissues begin to repair and our body’s hydration rebalances. The blood supply to muscles and tissues increases, and important hormones are released.” In short: Light sleep or sleep that is interrupted won’t have the same benefits as deep, continuous slumber.
“We need good, quality sleep to produce growth hormone and inhibit cortisol production,” adds Dr. Rosenberg. “Poor-quality sleep causes the release of inflammatory substances called cytokines, which cause redness and inflammation and also can exacerbate skin conditions like acne or eczema.”
There you have it. If this doesn’t make you give up binge-watching your favorite TV series for good, quality sleep, we don’t know what will.
Not Getting Enough Sleep? This Works for You!
Just as we understand the importance of sleep to our skin health, we also understand that getting the perfect night’s sleep isn’t always possible, and most of us will experience temporary periods of sleeplessness or restless sleep at some point in our lives. This is the idea behind This Works, a skin care line that champions and places good, quality sleep as a primary step in any skin care routine. It features a range of fast-acting natural remedies —all proven to help overcome temporary periods of sleeplessness and re-instate a healthy sleep pattern.
To complement the skin-enhancing power of sleep, the brand also offers a range of evening skin care formulas designed to support your skin’s natural repair and detoxification process. Here’s how to incorporate This Works‘ bestsellers into your nightly routine:
Step 1: Cleanse Your Skin
Start with a clean slate. To ensure that the rest of your skin care products penetrate your skin more deeply, it is vital that you thoroughly detoxify your skin, removing the day’s buildup of pollution, grime and makeup. We recommend This Works Light Time Cleanse & Glow, a one-minute antioxidant face wash that boosts the skin’s repair and detoxification functions.
Step 2: Repair and Nourish
Our skin is at its most receptive to topical treatments in the evening, the prelude to sleep. To boost your skin’s natural process of cell repair and regeneration, it’s important to choose a targeted moisturizer that helps rid skin of toxins like glycotoxins, which causes dark circles and sallow, tired-looking skin. This Works No Wrinkles Midnight Moisture features Persian silk tree extract to support the natural detoxification of our skin.
Step 3: Spray and Relax
For nights when your mind is racing and you just can’t seem to relax, reach for this global bestseller: Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, a fragrant mist that features a superblend of essential oils—true lavender, wild chamomile and vetivert—that’s proven to help you fall asleep faster than usual and wake up rested and rejuvenated. In an independent, 14-day test, 99% of users reported that they slept better, 89% said they fell asleep faster and 92% of users felt more refreshed in the morning after using this spray.