How was your summer?! Stay up late chatting with friends over wine or dinner? Go to concerts, baseball games, late night movies? Let the kids stay up past their bedtime and then stay up past yours? Well, now that summer is winding down, we all need to get back into that cycle of getting up early – whether for work, taking the kids to school, or making sure that everyone in our family is where they are supposed to be. Getting up early won’t be an easy thing to do, but maybe if you know the effects of sleep deprivation on your skin, you might choose to go to bed sooner and save that next episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ for tomorrow.
New research is now showing that there is indeed a scientific correlation between lack of sleep and its effects on our skin. In a recent study conducted by physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, poor sleepers showed increased signs of prematurely aging skin as compared to the group who were receiving adequate amounts of sleep. Those who didn’t sleep well had more signs of fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced skin elasticity as well as skin that was slower in recovering from skin stressors such as prolonged sun exposure and environmental toxins.
In the past, sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, diabetes, immune deficiencies and cancer. This study is one of the first to show such a clear link to poor skin health. On top of this, we all know how not getting enough sleep can affect our moods, make us more irritable, block our ability to focus, and even make us forgetful. The reason is that sleep is the time our body needs to reset and repair itself. Hormones such as cortisol and growth hormone are released during these times, and a deprived or disrupted sleep schedule can offset the right amounts from being released. According to WebMD, when we don’t get enough sleep, too much cortisol is released into our bodies. That excess amount of cortisol then attacks the collagen (the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic) in our skin. The result? Poor skin health with the obvious signs of reduced elasticity, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, lackluster or sallow skin tone, and puffiness and/or darkness around the eyes – to name a few.
On top of the damage lack of sleep can have on our skin, it can also compromise so many other aspects of our life. According to the Huffington Post, sleep deprivation can increase our likelihood of strokes, lead to weight gain, increase our risk for diabetes and cancer, fuel memory loss, lead to heart disease and ultimately, and simply, shorten our life expectancy. And it’s not all conjecture or studies done on mice. A 2011 study (with over 470,000 international participants over a seven to twenty-five year span published in the European Heart Journal) found that people who slept for six hours or less each night and had problems staying asleep had a 48 (!!) percent higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease. That’s pretty much half, and those are not good numbers for those of us who get six hours or less or have interrupted sleep cycles.
So if you want to stay healthy, live longer and be more productive, get yourself to bed earlier and make sure you get 7-9 hours each night. Skip those last 8 emails, don’t stay up to watch the funny video of the squirrel waterskiing, and know that you are extending your life and the quality of your life. And even though we now know that sleep is one of the easiest and most effective skin treatments, we are still going to need help repairing the damage that’s already underway and the damage we did when we didn’t know better. Before you go to bed, put on SilcSkin’s Decollette and/or Facial Pads and know that when you wake up in the morning, you’ll feel refreshed, you’ll have a brighter and longer future, and you’ll look younger and more age-defying with every SilcSkin night’s sleep. And remember, the Decollette and Facial Pads are most effective when worn overnight, because they work while you sleep. The more hours you sleep, the more hours they work. So couple that with longer, healthier sleep hours, and you are really going to love your reflection in the morning.