Getting a good night’s sleep these days seems like an impossible mission. Almost everyone has a hectic schedule, especially with kids around, making it very easy for sleep deprivation to creep into their lives and wreak havoc on their health. Technology is also to blame for the lack of sleep. The majority of people check their email and social media news feed right before going to bed, not to mention binge-watching various TV shows.
All of this significantly corrupts sleep quality and quantity. The lack of sleep not only affects your overall health, but also has a very negative effect on your skin. No matter how busy you are, you need to get some quality shut-eye. This way you do what’s in your power to keep your health in top condition and maintain a beautiful and radiant skin.
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
According to this study conducted by The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the amount of sleep you need can vary according to your individual needs and lifestyle. For instance, many adults need no more than 6-7 hours of sleep, after which they feel fully rested. Others may need about 9 hours to really get into gear and be ready to go about their day.
Nevertheless, the recommended amount of sleep for adults from 18 to 64 years of age is between 7 and 9 hours, making 8 hours of sleep probably ideal for a good night’s rest. This amount of time is perfect for your body to go into repair mode and rejuvenate, helping you maintain your good health, as well as good looks.
Good vs Bad Quality Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), good quality sleep means that you:
- fall asleep in 30 minutes or less
- don’t wake up more than once during the night
- are not awake more than 20 minutes after initially falling asleep
- are really asleep at least 85% of the time you spend in your bed
On the other hand, bad quality sleep includes:
- taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
- waking up several times during the night
- when you have trouble falling asleep for more than 20 minutes
- sleeping less than 85% of the total time.
Therefore, if your sleep is interrupted more than once and you have troubles falling asleep, both initially and after you wake up in the middle of the night, you won’t get enough shut-eye and, consequently, you will always wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed. That will reflect on your overall health and deprive both your skin and your body of the necessary nourishment.
10 Sleep Deprivation Effects on Your Skin and Body
Your Skin Ages Faster
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body and skin find it more difficult to recover from the stresses of environment and, in case of a chronic lack of sleep, your skin begins to age prematurely. The production of collagen in your skin significantly decreases, making your skin saggy. Fine lines and wrinkles appear much earlier.
Also, your body releases too little of the human growth hormone, which is very important as you age, because it helps with strengthening your bones and increasing your muscle mass, but it also greatly assists in tightening your skin. Without enough of this hormone, your skin becomes less elastic and the signs of aging become more visible. Without a good night’s sleep, even if you use the best anti-wrinkle products, signs of aging will become more and more obvious in time.
Your Skin Becomes Imbalanced and Dehydrated
Insufficient sleep greatly decreases the moisture levels in your skin, causing your skin to have a dehydrated complexion. Since the pH levels of your complexion are lowered, they create an imbalance in your skin and make it much drier. When your skin doesn’t get the necessary moisture it needs, it loses its natural glow and doesn’t look as radiant and young as it used to, making you look grey and visibly tired.
You Experience Breakouts on Your Skin
Sleep deprivation causes your body to release more of the stress hormone cortisol. This slows the production of collagen and also causes your body to react as if it were in an emergency. This leads to breakouts on your skin, because your oil glands react as well, realizing more sebum and clogging pores. You’ll notice improvements after using one of the best night creams for oily acne prone skin. But the cause (lack of sleep) will still be there and no beauty product can fix this. Moreover, apart from breakouts, you can also experience eczema and psoriasis, which are more difficult to treat. So stop ignoring your beauty sleep! It’s easier to prevent than to treat 😊
You Get Dark Circles under the Eyes
When the stress hormone cortisol is released due to lack of sleep, your body redirects blood flow to the most important organs, such as your brain. This is your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. Since there is an increase of blood flow in your brain, the veins in your under-eye skin dilate, making the skin in that area look dark. Not only does this reflect on your physical appearance, but it also has a very negative effect on your overall health. There are some great under eye creams for dark circles, but they won’t make you healthier. They will only make you look better. I’m not telling you to give up on your eye creams, but I urge you to get more rest and help those creams enhance your beauty, instead of just faking it.
You Develop Under-Eye Bags
This is yet another effect of insufficient sleep that can negatively reflect on the way you look. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, you will wake up to puffiness under your eyes, which is mostly caused by elevated stress.
Your Mental Health Is Negatively Affected
When you don’t get enough sleep, your mental health can also suffer grave consequences. Your cognitive functions can be negatively affected and you will be much more likely to have mood swings. As already mentioned several times, sleep deprivation drives up stress hormones, so your emotions can really be all over the place, making you feel nervous and driving you to become very easily irritated, not to mention that it can often lead to depression and anxiety disorders.
Your Immune System Becomes Weaker
When you are asleep, your immune system produces various antibodies for fighting off infections and viruses. Due to sleep deprivation, your immune system doesn’t have enough time to produce all those protective substances. So it eventually becomes weaker. As a result, you become more prone to various diseases and it can take you much more time to fight them off and recover.
Also, when your immune system gets weakened, the breakouts and rashes you experience on your skin can last much longer, since your body is not strong enough to repair itself quickly.
Problems with Cardiovascular System
Sleep is extremely important for your cardiovascular system, as your body enters repair mode while you sleep. It repairs your blood vessels and keeps your heart in check, which is put to great risk when you don’t get enough rest on a regular basis.
The risk of developing high blood pressure is incredibly increased. You can also be at risk of other health problems, such as various heart diseases, and even a stroke. Lack of sleep is so dangerous that even one night with bad quality sleep can cause people who have hypertension to experience higher blood pressure for the entirety of the next day.
Lack of sleep can also cause you to gain weight, being one of the main risk factors for obesity. Leptin is a hormone that accelerates your metabolism and lowers your appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of leptin get lower. However, at the same time, your levels of ghrelin are considerably increased (ghrelin being a hormone that stimulates the appetite). Hence, you end up eating more food than your body actually needs.
Moreover, lack of sleep makes your body release more insulin after you eat, leading to a greater storage of fat. Therefore, you can have a pretty tough time burning all the extra calories you eat. Increased fat storage can be even more dangerous, because it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, weight gain can lead to various problems with your cardiovascular system.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to hair loss, because it negatively influences the physiologic functions of your body. It slows down the production of collagen and increases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, both of which can lead to the thinning of hair and its gradual loss.
Also, when you don’t get enough sleep, the levels of melatonin decrease. Melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Topical melatonin can improve the quality of your hair and stimulate hair growth; its decrease due to a lack of sleep can eventually lead to hair loss.
As you can see, good quality sleep is absolutely vital for leading a quality life. You definitely need your beauty sleep in order to have a truly rested, fresh, radiant and young look. But you need quality sleep even more because of your overall health. Therefore, no matter how crazy a schedule you may have, make sure that you put your sleep above everything else and lead the healthy and happy life you deserve.