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Beauty Sleep: Real or Made Up?
You hear Tweetable health tips every day:
Acai berries are the key to weight loss. Deodorant causes breast cancer. Cracking your joints leads to arthritis. Beauty sleep is a real thing.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), all of the above are myths.
…except that last one.
It turns out quality sleep really does have the power to transform your appearance.
Let’s explore the many ways beauty sleep improves your looks — and what happens to your appearance when you don’t get it.
How Beauty Sleep Makes You More Attractive
Your brain isn't the only thing that repairs itself when you’re asleep — your body also goes through a restorative phase. Here are just a few of the things your body does to revamp your appearance while you sleep:
1. Your Body’s Cells Repair Themselves
When you enter deep sleep, your body starts to secrete growth hormones that help maintain and rebuild worn-out muscle tissue and bone.
When that happens, your body's tissues go into overdrive and generate more cells while slowing down protein synthesis, which helps your body promote healthy cell growth. It also helps to repair damage to your existing cells from things like stress and ultraviolet rays.
The results of this process are the main reason deep sleep is accurately dubbed “beauty sleep.”
2. Your Skin Gets Clearer and More Radiant
While you sleep, your body discards the aging skin cells that make your complexion darker, clog your pores and give your face a saggy appearance.
Beauty sleep allows your body to create new skin cells, giving you a fresher, more radiant appearance. Quality sleep also improves your circulation, which reduces wrinkles on your neck and face.
3. Your Hair and Nails Get Stronger
Another huge benefit of quality sleep is that you'll have healthier nails and hair.
Over time, as your body repairs damaged cells and creates more collagen night after night, you’ll notice there’s a healthier shine to your hair. And you’ll notice it’s stronger. The same goes for your nails — they’re less prone to cracking and brittleness when you get your beauty sleep.
4. You’re Less Prone to Dark Circles
Quality sleep makes your eyes look fresher and brighter.
That’s because sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep causes blood to pool beneath your eyes, giving them a puffy and dark appearance. When this happens, your eyes also look red and bloodshot (this phenomenon is what gives the term ‘red-eye flight’ its name).
How Sleep Deprivation Makes You Less Attractive
When you’re sleep deprived or don’t sleep well, your body has a tougher time restoring your cells and helping you look your best. Here’s why:
1. Your Skin Cells Can’t Repair Themselves
Good sleep and beauty are interlinked in the sense that if you don't sleep well, your body never has the opportunity to repair your skin cells.
And by not giving your body the chance to produce collagen and new cells, you dramatically increase your chances of experiencing premature aging.
Bottom line: if you don’t prioritize sleep, you’re more likely to look tired and wrinkled in the morning.
2. You Have More Breakouts
Lack of sleep spikes the production of a stress hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol production naturally goes down at night, when you’re soundly asleep. However, if don’t sleep (or sleep well) at night, your body continues to produce cortisol well past sunset.
Cortisol stimulates your oil glands, which in turn leads to more acne breakouts and larger, more visible pores.
3. You Increase Your Risk of Skin Damage
Beauty sleep is necessary to balance the production of your body's natural antioxidant reserves — and according to research, sleep deprivation can lead to depletion in these reserves.
Without antioxidants, your skin struggles to protect itself against environmental stressors like ultraviolet rays, pollution, and even cigarette smoke — which means your skin is more likely to be damaged by them.
4. You Age Faster
According to a groundbreaking study by Estée Lauder, in which participants either stayed awake for one night or slept for only four hours, sleep deprivation or lack of quality sleep can cause skin cells to age rapidly in older individuals.
The worst part? Even missing one night's sleep can trigger this reaction.
Make Sure You Get Your Beauty Sleep
Consistent, high-quality sleep is crucial if you want to look your best — there’s a lot of evidence that it will help you feel and look younger.
That said, it’s important to understand that quality sleep has an impact that goes far beyond aesthetics. It helps your body repair itself, makes sure your mind is functioning at peak performance and more.
Want beauty, brawn, and brains? Set aside a little extra time for sleep tonight.
(1) University Hospitals Case Medical Center. “Sleep deprivation linked to aging skin, study suggests." Science Daily, Jul. 23 2013, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723155002.htm
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