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Is Beauty Sleep Real? Benefits of Good Sleep for Your Skin


There are many well-known interventions for achieving better skin like choosing clean skin care, eating a diet rich in micronutrients, and staying hydrated. However, there is one factor that is commonly overlooked: high quality sleep. So,what does the research say about lack of sleep and its effects on skin? And how do we apply these findings to optimize our skin health?


Over the last 10 years, it has become clear that disrupted sleep and lack of sleep is detrimental to skin in many different ways.When we sleep, our skin temperature decreases and subdermal blood flow rate increases. This increased blood flow has been shown to improve absorption of topically applied products and be important for keratinocyte formation at the skin barrier [1]. Sleeping is the time where your endogenous repair enzymes and topically applied skin care products get to work on repairing the damage accumulated throughout the day. After just one night of 4 hours of sleep (compared to 8 hours), one study found that skin hydration was significantly reduced and elasticity and wrinkles were aggravated [2]. Furthermore,consistently poor sleep hinders recovery of the skin barrier and contributes to skin aging via loss of hydration [3]. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.Most of our biological processes fluctuate with our circadian rhythm; this includes immune processes and thermoregulation as mentioned before. These are critical to skin barrier repair and disrupted sleep hinders these mechanisms, often resulting in disrupted collagen homeostasis [4]. Altogether, this simultaneous disruption to multiple cellular repair processes takes a noticeable toll on skin appearance and vibrancy [5].


Research findings agree that loss of sleep and/or poor-quality sleep disrupts the circadian rhythm of various dermatological mechanisms but it’s pretty unrealistic to expect us to get 8 hours of rest every night. This leaves us with an opportunity to build a skin care routine that compensates for lack of sleep, focusing on hydration and repair.Limiting screen time an hour before you go to bed has been shown to help us get higher quality sleep by reducing our exposure to unnatural blue light[6]. You can go one step further by using red light in the evening to encourage circadian resetting.If you have to miss some sleep, do your best to stay hydrated and don’t skip your skin care routine as this further hinders the recovery process. Before using your most hydrating moisturizer, apply a good dose of a serum containing antioxidants and/or peptides. A clean skin care regimen that enhances autophagy or is focused on skin cell renewal should be prioritized. We know it’s hard to always get that full night of sleep, but hopefully you see that strategic skin care can help us compensate when it’s just not possible that night.


[1] Lyons AB, Moy L, Moy R, Tung R (2019) Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A Review of the Literature.J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 12, 42–45.

[2] Jang SI, Lee M, Han J, Kim J, Kim AR, An JS, Park JO, Kim BJ, Kim E (2020) A study of skin characteristics with long-term sleep restriction in Korean women in their 40s.Skin Res Technol 26, 193–199.

[3] Oyetakin-White P, Suggs A, Koo B, Matsui MS, Yarosh D, Cooper KD, Baron ED (2015) Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing?Clin Exp Dermatol 40, 17–22.

[4] Chang J, Garva R, Pickard A, Yeung C-YC, Mallikarjun V, Swift J, Holmes DF, Calverley B, Lu Y, Adamson A, Raymond-Hayling H, Jensen O, Shearer T, Meng QJ, Kadler KE (2020) Circadian control of the secretory pathway maintains collagen homeostasis.Nature Cell Biology 22, 74–86.

[5] Sundelin T, Lekander M, Sorjonen K, Axelsson J (2017) Negative effects of restricted sleep on facial appearance and social appeal.Royal Society Open Science 4,.

[6] Tähkämö L, Partonen T, Pesonen A-K (2019) Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm.Chronobiology International 36, 151–170.