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5 ways sleep can improve your skin

If you cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize religiously, if you wear sunscreen, if you drink plenty of water—and a bright complexion still eludes you, it may be time to look into what you’re not doing. In other words, you may need to look into your sleep. 

As is the case with your mood, strength, and your ability to remember where you put those darn keys, getting a good seven to eight hours does wonders for your skin. Take a look below at all the nifty things that happen to your skin with quality sleep. What’s even better? You don’t need to lift a finger.

1. Sleep eases inflammation. Inflammation—what happens when a body’s overactive immune system attacks itself—is at the root of a range of conditions, including eczema and acne. It’s exacerbated when stress hormones run high, which is precisely what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. 

2. Sleep keeps your skin more hydrated. According to 2015 Clinical Experimental Dermatology paper, subjects who slept 7 to 9 hours experienced a 30 percent higher rate of recovery from transepidermal water loss (TWL) than those who slept less than five hours.  TWL is the water that evaporates through your skin barrier over the course of the day. This explains why the skin looks dull with too little sleep--the skin’s barrier system has a tougher time keeping water in. 

3. Sleep helps your skin recover more quickly from sun damage.  Authors in that same study exposed UV light to  subjects and found that those who had seven to eight hours of sleep recovered more quickly from the redness from sun damage, too.  

4. Sleep sparks skin-cell growth and renewal. Sleep cycles from light to deep to REM throughout the night, and researchers have long correlated deep sleep with higher secretions of growth hormone. Growth hormone, in turn, seems to be correlated with various skin structures involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Without sufficient sleep, deep sleep is cut short and your skin cells may not get a chance to rejuvenate. 

5. Sleep keeps you from looking old. In a Sleep journal article, subjects asked to look at various faces were able to differentiate those that got enough sleep from those that didn’t get enough sleep. Telltale skin signs turned out to be under- eye circles, droopy lids, paleness, and wrinkles around the eyes. Get more sleep, and you’ll address all these issues. It’s quite possibly the cheapest, least laborious beauty secret yet.

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

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