Is Beauty Sleep a Real Thing? (Sleep Series Pt.1)

By Charity

  • Beauty sleep is real - sleep plays a vital role in skincare and overall wellness 
  • Your perceived attractiveness declines when you've been sleep deprived
  • 7 to 9 hours of sleep is the sweet spot for regenerative sleep practices

Remember how Dr. Yoon put sleep at the top of his 2020 skincare resolutions list? Well, we can't say enough about sleep when it comes to important skincare habits and rituals. We've decided to explore this ever-important topic of sleep as our next broader theme to ponder further and go deeper on with you.     

When was the last time you had a little bit of that ‘beauty sleep’? I’m always shocked when I encounter the blissful moments of waking from a really good night of sleep. More recently, I’ve been learning more about the vital role sleep plays in skincare and overall wellness. Good sleep is like the golden egg of healthy aging and longevity. This is why beauty sleep is a concept that makes sense and is indeed very real! 

Sleep demands nearly one-third of each day. Nearly one-third of our life is spent in a state of mind that is solely focused on making our entire bodies healthier. There have been multiple studies conducted to demonstrate that a person’s perceived attractiveness, alertness and ability to perform materially decline when they have been sleep deprived. The studies suggest that better sleep leads to more attractiveness. What is going on with our bodies during sleep that contributes to our skin catching that healthy glow? 

During sleep, our brains kick in full gear the memory processing and cellular repair systems at a level not possible while you are awake. Think about it - our bodies are constantly inundated with never-ending stimuli and demands, which can lead to disruptions and hormonal imbalances (e.g., stress or irritability). As we lay our heads down to sleep, the body starts resetting everything out of balance. Unless you experience intense dreams on occasion, you can rest assured that there is no face scrunching while you are asleep!

Sleep reboots our immune system. Inflammation stays in check when our immune system is working well. The first thing I want to do if I feel the onset of a cold or allergic reaction coming on is sleep! In most cases, if I prioritize sleep while sick, my recovery is much faster. When we sleep, our immune system kicks into full gear, working through all the hiccups from the days and weeks prior. 

Another factor that leads to beauty sleep is that the brain signals the body to enter deep relaxation and repair mode. On the smallest cellular level, the organs are charged to get to work, from processing memories to repairing damaged cells. Our sleep cycle involves three stages of sleep - deep, light and rapid-eye movement (or REM). Every ninety minutes our brains will cycle through these three stages, with more deep sleep near the beginning and more REM sleep near the end. All three stages have functions that help our brains process through information, store long term memories, and rebalance.

Cycling through all three stages of sleep is the key to getting beauty sleep. How many hours do you need to to do this? Whether you are a night owl or a morning dove, most research on sleep suggest that adults need anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep - this is the sweet spot for regenerative sleep practices. If we miss out on this prized moment, a little every day, the impact can pile up. Having a regular habit of sleeping well is one not worth breaking. The amount our bodies and brains tackle on a daily basis require equal amounts of care and processing once the day is done. Consider finding small ways to revamp your schedule to ensure you get the right amount of beauty sleep for yourself. Also, read on to learn about the best sleeping positions for skincare here.