Beauty Sleep: Does It Actually Make You… Beautiful?

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We’ve got good news for everyone out there who loves dozing off into a comfy bed each night (so like 99.9% of us right?)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is saying that “Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Epidemic”. How does this concern you? Well something we’re always trying to get across to our community is that your health and attractiveness are very closely related. When one improves or declines, so does the other.

A healthy body is an attractive body.

Healthy skin is attractive skin.

Healthy teeth are attractive teeth.

Healthy hair is attractive hair.

By improving your health you become better looking. When your body is sleep deprived, or in other words not at optimal health, you basically become… uglier.

This is what researchers from Sweden concluded in a beauty sleep experiment. Their objective was:

“To investigate whether sleep deprived people are perceived as less healthy, less attractive, and more tired than after a normal night’s sleep.” They took 23 healthy, sleep deprived adults ages 18-31 and photographed them while 65 other people rated their photographs on the three categories mentioned above.

The results?

results of beauty sleep experiment
Well rested on the left, sleep deprived on the right.

“Sleep deprived people were rated as less healthy (visual analogue scale scores, mean 63 (SE 2) v  68 (SE 2), P<0.001), more tired (53 (SE 3) v  44 (SE 3), P<0.001), and less attractive (38 (SE 2) v 40 (SE 2), P<0.001) than after a normal night’s sleep. The decrease in rated health was associated with ratings of increased tiredness and decreased attractiveness.”

Notice the last part, “The decrease in rated health was associated with ratings of increased tiredness and decreased attractiveness.”

This is something all of us know intuitively. Sleep is good for you, no one will disagree with that. Most of us will also agree we look better after a good night of sleep and not so good after a bad one. We can see it in the mirror – the baggy eyes, dull skin, and tired expression. Not to mention the increased levels of stress we experience the next day which doesn’t do us any favors. Stress not only makes us look older but it also makes us fatter and it might be related to the other way sleep affects our appearance which doesn’t get talked about nearly as much as it should:

Getting just an hour more of sleep each day will actually reduce your body fat percentage by 2.8%! Getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night increases the amount of fat around your waist and also increases the breakdown of muscular tissue. Bad news all around if you’re trying to stay in shape.

As we mentioned before, sleep deprivation also takes a serious toll on your skin especially around the face. Underneath the eyes, blood vessels dilate when you get too little sleep creating those raccoon like dark circles. Your body also increases HGH production while you’re dreaming away which is critical to help it produce collagen — the main support structure of your skin and what gives it its “bounce”. Too little collagen = saggy skin! Nighttime is when your skin renews and repairs itself so if you don’t give it enough time to do its job you’ll eventually end up paying for it.

Ideally, you’d also do your PM skincare routine a little bit before bed. You remember the basic steps right? Cleanse > Exfoliate > Moisturize. A cream based facial mask left on overnight can also be very beneficial, to wake up with your skin feeling refreshed in the morning. Did you know your body loses about 25% of its total water content while you’re asleep? Dehydration is doing your skin no favors. The right mask can help even out your skin-tone, keep your skin hydrated, and even fight against wrinkles. If you routinely wake up with inelastic, dry and/or tight skin in the morning consider looking into one.

Beauty Sleep Tip: Try getting into the habit of sleeping on your back if you don’t already. Rubbing your face against a pillow while tossing and turning and the pressure you apply to your skin while resting on one can leave ugly creases on your face when you wake up.

Dehydration vs Hydration
Your body can lose as much as 25% of its water content after one night of sleep. Use a cream based facial mask before bed to prevent moisture loss and wake up with lively skin.

So what’s the takeaway? DO NOT SLACK OFF ON YOUR SLEEP.

Beauty sleep works and you should be taking advantage of the hours you spend in dreamland because they’ll help you look your best while you’re out in the “real” world.

By the way, there’s no use in cutting back on sleep time to get a head start for the day when you’ll be spending the rest of it feeling groggy and suffer from decreased mental performance. You’ll be much more more productive and get more things done if you’re feeling 100% and “alive” rather than 50% and “just getting by” or worse.

What’s The Ideal Amount of Beauty Sleep?

The traditional 8 hours each night seems to be the sweet spot. At the very least try to get in at least 6 but there is evidence that for each extra hour of sleep, you’ll benefit in a variety of ways from increased reaction time to improved physical performance and more.

That said, too much sleep (10+ hours) isn’t too good for you either and is actually linked to depression, increased levels of inflammation, and a higher mortality risk.

If all of this doesn’t convince you to make good sleep a priority we don’t know what to tell you. Stress, fat, poor skin, lower productivity — are these really the kinds of things you want to be dealing with? If not just look back at the study. Sleep less and you’ll look worse. Sleep more and you’ll look better. The choice is yours.

If you’d like tips on how to sleep better at night and make the most of your beauty sleep check out this handy guide we made to getting the best sleep of your life.

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