Physical Health, Wellness / Self-Care

The way you Sleep is negatively affecting your Skin

Your pillows might have a lot to do with it.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 24, 2022

We all know that sleep is a necessity. From your productivity to mood, sleep affects it all. After all, sleep is how you recharge yourself. You need enough in order to function the next day. It’s no wonder that sometimes, naps feel like they’re life-changing.


But did you know that getting proper sleep actually has an impact on your skin‘s health? So, the term “beauty sleep” does have some truth to it after all. If you’re not getting those 7-9 hours, your skin might be suffering in part because of it.


Your skin has what’s called an extracellular matrix. What this matrix does is act as a base that holds your cells in the right place. One of the most important things in this matrix, other than proteins and water, is collagen. Sound familiar? That’s because collagen is not only essential in most of your body parts (muscles, ligaments, hair, and skin), but the protein is usually found in grooming products to repair the skin’s health.


Collagen and the extracellular matrix need time to replenish themselves. In a 2020 study from the University of Manchester, researchers found that a consistent and healthy sleep schedule is integral to repairing this matrix. Without proper sleep, thus proper repairing time, your skin will look less youthful, and all those parts of your body that collagen keeps healthy might suffer—for example, your joints can start weakening.


We know that improper sleep can impact the moisture of your skin, but if your collagen levels aren’t having the proper time to prepare because you’re not sleeping enough, your body won’t be able to retain moisture. This is because when you sleep, your hydration levels are evening out. But without enough sleep, your skin is prone to inflammation and the loss of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid, another term that might sound familiar, is where the skin gets its moisture. Without enough of it, your skin barrier gets damaged, and can appear more dull.


On the flip side, if you’re going through multiple all-nighters, you might also be going through a spike in pimples, blackheads, sebum, and whiteheads. This is due to your body experiencing a cortisol uptick. Cortisol is known to be a friend of inflammation, stop it in its tracks by giving the skin time to rest and getting enough sleep.


Not only that, but have you noticed how hot you get when you’re asleep? Especially if you’re a traditionally hot sleeper? This is because the temperature of your skin is getting hotter since blood flow is increasing. With an increase in blood flow comes an increase in how skincare products work for you. So a good night’s sleep is a good night of skincare products’ effectiveness. Crazy, right?


So basically, it’s important that your cells are getting enough time to repair so your skin doesn’t suffer, but repairs itself. After all, while you sleep, your body corrects possible sunlight damage and increases cell turnover rates. That’s why, if you use retinol, you use it at night, to boost that process. This is where having a nighttime skincare routine comes into play.


Here’s 4 tips to improve your overall nighttime experience.


Stop using your phone

You’re not the only one who checks social media before bed—but it’s horrible for your sleep cycle. Blue light makes it harder for you to go to sleep because it makes it easier for you to get addicted to social media. Your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) is getting damaged if you force it awake with social media.


If your circadian rhythm is unbalanced, so will the timing of your sleep cycle. Basically, melatonin is the hormone that tells your body it’s time to wake up and go to sleep. Blue light suppresses that. So, if you’ve ever found yourself forcing your eyes awake, now you know why. It’s best to just go to sleep, and stay away from the phone, TV, and laptop 2 hours before bed. Not easy, but it’s best. To start, invest in blue light blocking glasses.


Change the way you sleep

Sleeping positions matter—you don’t want to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. If you don’t want to promote wrinkles on the skin, sleeping on your stomach isn’t optimal. Try to sleep on your back, even if it’s not that comfortable for you. We’ve already talked about the effectiveness of silk and satin pillowcases, but in short, a cotton pillowcase isn’t the move. It’s rough and scratches your skin overnight, and who wants to pair that with their new nightly skincare routine?


You may not be able to control your body in deep sleep, but you can control what you sleep with. Silk retains moisture (hyaluronic acid) and protects your skin and hair from bacteria, dust, and other gross particles cotton doesn’t. In addition, try to sleep at a slight elevation to stop a runny nose and snoring.


Have a solid skincare routine

If your body is doing so much good to your skin while you sleep, why not take advantage of it? Use its upped level of absorption to your benefit and develop a nightly routine to benefit your skin. For instance, use an active, like retinol, with a moisturizer that has peptides. These ingredients will boost the effectiveness of the skin repair that’s already going on.


Start healthy habits

Set boundaries with yourself and stick to them. Start a nightly and morning routine to keep yourself on schedule. The routines will also help you start your day feeling better. Showering, brushing your teeth, and eating are all essentials that should be fit into what you do on a daily basis. Maybe you even journal or read a book to feel balanced. Whatever you do, make sure they make you feel better—after all, that’s the point of a good routine.


Here are some meditation apps to help you sleep better and ways to create the optimal sleep environment.