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Why good sleep is essential for great 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, your muscle 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. The best thing? You don’t need to lift a finger.

Sleep eases up on any inflammation your body experiences. Inflammation is at the root of a range of conditions, including eczema and acne. It’s exacerbated by stress hormones, which rise when you don’t get enough sleep.

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 not only suggests that the skin’s barrier system has a tougher time keeping water in when you’re sleep-deprived, it explains why the skin looks dull with too little sleep.

Your skin recovers less quickly from sun damage.  The researchers  above also exposed UV light to subjects and found that those who got seven to eight hours of sleep recovered more quickly from the redness than those who didn't.

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

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. Tell-tale signs: under eye circles, droopy lids, paleness, and wrinkles around the eyes.

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