Nearly 70 million American adults suffer from one or more sleep disorders. Some of the more common sleep disorders include sleep deprivation, insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders and obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep disorders can directly influence the health of our skin. Patients that are sleep deprived are more likely to suffer with common dermatological conditions such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and may have increased risk of melanoma growth.
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to skin aging. Individuals that are sleep deprived often suffer with hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, dark circles and wrinkles that are more pronounced. Poor sleep quality has been found to decreased skin barrier function in clinical studies.
Clinicians suggest that wearing sunscreen regularly is one of the most significant anti-aging preventatives but sleep is also extremely important because when you are resting your body is hard at work naturally rejuvenating itself and cell turnover is much more active during sleep.
A US based study was performed to look specifically at the effects of chronic poor sleep quality and its association with increased signs of intrinsic ageing, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance. The study results concluded that good sleepers had lower intrinsic skin ageing scores and had a 30% greater barrier recovery as compared with poor sleepers. Further study demonstrated that good sleepers had significantly better recovery from erythema after exposure to ultraviolet light.
In addition to a good night’s sleep there are a few important best practices to better assist your skin’s rejuvenation process while you rest.
- Never go to sleep without washing your face and removing make-up. During the course of a given day there is an ongoing buildup of makeup, oil and environmental pollutants that gather on the skin and migrate into pores and deeper layers of the skin. These contaminants cause acceleration of the ageing process often through the breakdown of collagen.
- Your sleep position can create, “sleep wrinkles,” which are naturally occurring wrinkles that form from pressing the face against a pillow during sleep. If you are a stomach sleeper you may want to explore sleeping on your back.
- Keeping your home at a humidity level between 30-50% can reduce dry, tight and uncomfortable skin that often occurs when the home has less moisture in the air especially in the cool dry winter months.
Overall, restful, skin rejuvenating sleep is essential for skin health and a strong anti-ageing program.