We’ve all heard the term “beauty sleep”, and while we’ve all experienced the griefs of a sleepless night, not all of us know exactly why. Overall, there are a number of things that go wrong for the health and beauty of our skin from sleep deprivation. However, there is one primary culprit behind the eye bags, fine lines, and lackluster appearance and that is the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can be a helpful, adaptive hormone. But too much of it can lead to biological stress in the body, inflammation and the resulting decline in the health of the skin. This relationship between stress, sleep deprivation, and skin problems can be a vicious cycle, especially with conditions like acne and eczema, which can lead to new problems like potential scarring, scratching, and an increase in psychological stress – let’s be honest, it’s hard to feel good when your body shows otherwise!
According to science, the stress hormones secreted by poor sleep can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is associated with nearly every skin problem, including eczema, psoriasis, acne and even wrinkles.
Additionally, the manifestation of skin issues can further increase physiological stress from emotional stress to increased discomfort, which can only perpetuate sleep problems. For some, this vicious cycle between poor sleep and skin can make it seem nearly impossible to recover from either.
More specifically though, let us cover the major ways sleep deprivation affects the skin, here are a few examples:
6 Ways Sleep Deprivation causes Skin Problems
1. Inflammation: During inflammatory responses, the skin is immediately notified, it has many receptor sites for immune cells and inflammation. You can learn more about this in detail in our blog on the stress – skin connection. Because of this, anytime inflammation becomes chronic, the skin is susceptible to an increased likelihood of acne breakouts, allergenic issues like dermatitis and overall more sensitive skin. Everything from acne, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles, and rosacea can be traced back to inflammation.
2. Weakened Immune System: As inflammation rises in the body, the immune system becomes overly stimulated, leading to underactivity. This causes chaos for the immune function can lead to autoimmune related skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. These are both conditions that the body is experiencing chronic inflammation and resulting poor immune function. If you have either of these conditions, work on resolving chronic biological stress, as these conditions are also associated with heart attacks, fibrosis and other issues of the metabolic system.
3. Lackluster Appearance: Sleep is the time where our immune systems and entire biology regenerates. One of the main functions the skin undergoes during sleep is fluid metabolism and detoxification, which are important for balancing the skins hydration. During good sleep, the skin recovers moisture, while metabolizing water-soluble toxins for detoxification. If this process is disrupted it results in poor water balance, which can lead to puffy eyes, dark circles, as well as overall dryness and fine lines.
4. Accelerated Aging: During deep REM sleep, it is growth hormones that are responsible for regrowth and regeneration. Without growth and youth hormones, damaged cells are not repaired. Over time, the aging process is accelerated from poor regeneration from daily living. In this way, good sleep means more graceful aging.
5. Poor Fat Metabolism: Good sleep means less stress hormone, which means your thyroid works more efficiently. The thyroid is the master gland of the metabolism, if it becomes sluggish, that means your body is less likely to burn fat efficiently. This might result in increased “weight” accumulation on the face, hiding its natural contour.
6. Water Retention and Face Puffiness: When stress hormone increases, so does aldosterone, another stress hormone. Aldosterone regulates fluid mineral metabolism, which if inhibited, results in the retention of water. This means increased likelihood for face puffiness and eye bags.
What You Can Do About It
If poor sleep means bad skin, this also means that good quality sleep can dramatically improve the health of the skin – and there are many helpful tips for improving sleep quality!
Here are some holistic tips for getting great sleep and better skin:
• Rise and fall according to the circadian rhythm of the body. Turn in for sleep when the sun turns, and aim to wake naturally when it comes back out.
• Do not eat too late. This can result in the body using up valuable biological energy for digestion rather than detoxification and regeneration.
• Hydrate throughout the early part of the day and avoid water at night. In TCM, having to process water is a slight stimulate for the body, which can inhibit the release of melatonin.
• Get comfortable. Any stress at all will inhibit melatonin production (cortisol inhibits melatonin). One simple source of stress for the body is irregular temperature. Being either too cold or too hot can counter good sleep.
• Keep electronics and blue light out of the room. Again, these are sources of biological stress, its best to eliminate the use of all electronics and blue light 2 hours before sleep. At the least, never allow them into the bedroom and aim to keep your room dark as you can.
The goal is eliminating all sources of stress, including psychological, physical, chemical, nutritional, thermal, and electromagnetic. This way your body has minimal cortisol production, so this way it can produce enough melatonin. The result will be better sleep, for more beautiful skin.
To find out more about how to obtain healthy skin, please visit Alitura Naturals.