Swissline is proud to announce our content partnership with world-renowned Sleep Expert and Psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus (The Sleep Doctor)! This article was written by Dr. Breus to share fascinating and practical tips to help our readers understand the importance of sleep in their everyday lives. In this content series, Dr. Breus will also share the benefits of sleep for improving the aging process overall - especially as it's related to skin health.
I’ve been telling my patients for years: a great sleep routine is the ultimate cosmetic medicine.
While we sleep—and particularly when we enter deep, slow-wave sleep—our bodies go to work to repair and restore cells and tissues, supported by an upsurge of hormones that support cellular health and directly contribute to a more youthful appearance. On the other hand, when we don’t get enough high-quality sleep, our biological aging process accelerates. Cells, tissues, and organs get less of the restorative repair that sleep provides, and we see more of the visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, dull skin, puffy, tired eyes, and limp, listless hair.
Sleep isn’t the only factor that affects aging, of course. Our biological age, and how young we look and feel is the result of a number of interrelated factors, including:
*Lifestyle habits and routines
*Diet and exercise
But sleep is a major contributor to the pace of biological aging—and sleep has a dramatic impact on visible signs of aging.
“Beauty sleep” is not just the stuff of fairy tales. It’s a real and powerful force in slowing aging. A regular routine of high-quality, plentiful sleep will make you look younger, fresher, and more vibrant. Here’s how.
Our skin is a network of collagen and elastin fibers, and as collagen declines and elastin fibers become more stretched out, wrinkles and fine lines appear. In particular, arterial aging—the age-related damage and decline in functioning of the heart and blood vessels—speeds up the breakdown of elastin fibers. When you get the plentiful, high-quality sleep you need on a regular basis, arterial aging slows down, and this reduces the presence of wrinkles.
The cellular repair work that takes place during sleep increases skin cells’ protection against sun damage and other environmental damage, all significant causes of wrinkles. HGH boosts the rate of production of new skin cells and stimulates the production of collagen, helping skin to retain greater elasticity.
And the hydrating effects of deep, restful sleep allow skin cells to retain more fluid, making skin more naturally moisturized and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles.
Dull, dry skin is one of the most frustrating signs of visible aging for a lot of my patients. Deep sleep’s cellular repair and the sleep-related surge of HGH promote the body’s repair of damaged skin cells and the growth of new ones, creating more of the dewy, youthful look that everyone wants.
And sleep’s hydration powers are critical to combat dry, dull skin. When we’re dehydrated, skin looks tired and dull. A lack of sleep can contribute to dehydration by interrupting the release of the hormone vasopressin, which plays a key role in keeping the body hydrated. Vasopressin production rises to its highest levels during the later cycles of your nightly sleep, so to keep your skin looking dewy and full, make sure you’re sleeping well right up to your morning wake time, and not shortchanging your rest by waking too early or sleeping restlessly in the second half of the night.
During sleep, the body sweats as a way to maintain its core temperature. Sweating brings moisture to the cells of the skin’s uppermost layers, filling them with water and leaving skin looking full and firm.
Stress makes skin appear dull. The stress hormone cortisol can affect the circulation of blood to cells throughout the body, including to the skin. A routine of sleeping well helps keep stress in check. That can translate into more vitality and radiance in the appearance of your skin.
Sleep deprivation itself also lowers circulation, which can make skin look pale, dull, and washed out. A healthy night’s sleep promotes healthy circulation, and more vibrant-looking skin.
Puffy eyes result from a number of factors, including the loss of elasticity in the skin, fluid retention, and inflammation.
Plentiful, high-quality sleep helps the skin remain more elastic.
Sleep also helps avoid an excess of water retention, by regulating blood pressure. By restricting blood vessels, high blood pressure causes fluid build-up. High blood pressure is strongly associated with poor sleep. By getting more plentiful and restful sleep, you can help lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and you may see a real reduction in under-eye puffiness.
Lack of sleep also contributes to higher levels of inflammation. Swelling and puffiness around the eyes can be a sign of inflammation. Puffy swollen eyelids can be a sign of a medical condition, including allergies and thyroid disease; check in with your doctor if you observe this type of swelling around your eye.
When people have dark circles under their eyes, they often think this is all about a lack of sleep. In fact, our genes have a lot to do with how prone we are to dark under-eye circles.
That said, getting more and better sleep may reduce dark circles. Poor sleep interferes with circulation, and a dark-colored under-eye skin may be caused in part by blood pooling under the eyes, creating darker blood vessels. Dark circles can also appear from the fluid build up in the cells of delicate under-eye skin. Even if your genes have given you dark under-eye circles, you can likely avoid making them worse by sleeping better.
Genetics also plays a big role in the appearance and thickness of hair. But sleep is important for hair health. Sleep promotes the growth of new cells that are involved in hair growth. Protein synthesis that’s required for hair growth and repair happens during sleep, and HGH also works to restore and rejuvenate hair cells.
Blood circulates nutrients to hair follicles. When poor sleep compromises circulation, the hair doesn’t get the nutrients it needs. The result? Slower-growing, weaker hair.
Stress can cause hair loss, and poor quality, insufficient sleep is a major contributor to increased stress and makes managing stress more difficult.
Beauty sleep is all about caring for our bodies at a cellular level. That’s how we slow the aging process, protect our health, and stay looking and feeling younger, longer. When you think about the daily habits you’re using to keep your youthful glow and vigor, make sure beauty sleep-- a consistent routine of abundant, high-quality sleep—is at the top of your list.