Beauty Sleep: Storybook Trope Or Skincare Savior?

Growing up, your mother probably explained to you the importance of getting a good night's sleep, saying eight hours of sleep recharges your battery and gives you the energy you need to get through the day. As an adult, odds are good that you've also read how those same eight hours have positive effects on your skin. You may have even heard celebrities claim the secret to great skin is an adequate amount of sleep, swearing it's an essential part of their skincare routines. Is there any truth to that claim, or are they actually just using expensive skincare products behind closed doors?


And perhaps beauty sleep really does wonders for your skin, but what about those who don't have the opportunity to get those necessary eight hours? Is their skin in trouble, or is the beauty sleep claim only a myth? We took a look at this idea to determine whether sleep really is a skincare savior — and found that there's plenty of truth to it. Here's what happens to your skin in the wake of a poor night's sleep.

Skin ages at a more rapid rate when you're deprived of sleep

When you aren't getting a good night's rest, your skin is more likely to age at a rapid rate due to raised levels of stress hormones like cortisol. As you sleep, your body rebalances the amount of cortisol in your system, getting rid of any excess stress hormones — a necessary step to keeping your skin youthful, as natural health brand A.Vogel explains. Cortisol plays a major role in maintaining a healthy sleep cycle; if you aren't getting your beauty sleep, that unnecessary cortisol remains in your bloodstream, which can promote inflammation. So if you continue practicing poor sleeping habits, don't be surprised when you start seeing premature wrinkles.


Additionally, when you're sleep-deprived, your body isn't able to produce the proper amount of collagen needed to retain the elasticity in your skin — which ultimately leads to sagging and free-radical damage, as skincare expert Dr. Deborah Lee told Open Access Government. The more collagen your body loses, the quicker your skin will age, which is why it's crucial you're getting your beauty sleep every night to keep your collagen levels at optimum.

Your skin can't recover as well from environmental stressors

Beauty sleep is an absolute must when it comes to protecting your skin from environmental stressors, such as sun exposure and pollution (this is also your reminder to always put on sunscreen before you leave the house). If you live in a particularly sunny area or in a major city with elevated pollution levels, you may even need more beauty sleep than the rest of us. A study conducted by Estée Lauder found women who got a good night's sleep had a greater chance of repairing damaged skin than those who didn't, according to A.Vogel.


If your skin isn't able to heal from sun damage or other environmental stressors, this can lead to sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma (a condition that causes patchy, spotty skin) down the line, says the Skin Cancer Foundation. If you aren't concerned about getting a good night's sleep, we hope that learning about these potential consequences is enough to get you on a proper schedule.

Sleep helps skin retain necessary moisture

If you're someone affected by dry, flaky skin, you're an excellent candidate for beauty sleep. When we sleep, it helps our skin retain moisture, A.Vogel states, and as you get older, your skin automatically starts to thin, making it significantly less able to do so. This means your skin is much more susceptible to things like irritation and dryness. That same study produced by Estée Lauder that we discussed earlier also discovered a correlation between a good night's sleep and your skin's ability to retain moisture and naturally heal.


While there are plenty of products you can use to keep your skin moisturized, beauty sleep is a natural skincare savior. The more hours you spend snoozing — up to a point — the better chance your skin has of improving on its own, meaning that you can stop spending hundreds of dollars on products that claim to hydrate your skin (though we do love a good skincare regime). If you're skeptical that sleep makes this much of a difference, we suggest taking before and after photos so you can see the comparison for yourself.

Sleep deprivation especially affects the skin around your eyes

A lack of beauty sleep greatly affects the skin on and around your eyes, which is one of the most delicate areas on your entire body, according to Everyday Health. When you skimp on the recommended hours of sleep, it can result in intense dark circles, hanging eyelids, and swollen eyes, per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is why you often hear people saying you look tired or sick when you don't get a good night's sleep. It's super rude, but they have a point — those dark circles will give away a lack of sleep every time.


If insults from strangers and friends don't exactly motivate you to get your beauty sleep, maybe baggy eyelids and horrible dark circles will. You'll be amazed at how much more awake and fresh your skin looks after you've gotten an adequate amount of sleep. If you get your body into a regular sleep schedule — and actually stick to it — you can kiss those under-eye bags goodbye.

Sleep-deprived skin is more susceptible to acne

When you fail to get your beauty sleep, you also increase your chances of developing acne, even if you've never had issues with it before. Because you aren't resetting your cortisol levels as we talked about before, your skin is prone to inflammation, which can cause acne to appear down the line, says Walk-in Dermatology. When your skin becomes inflamed, it breaks up the proteins required to maintain smooth and glowing skin. That's not to mention that when you break down these necessary proteins, you're increasing your risk of having an allergic reaction (yikes!).


It's crazy how much inflammation can affect your skin, which is why sleep is so crucial to your nightly skincare routine, especially if your skin is prone to acne. Anti-acne creams, serums, and medications can only do so much; it's up to you to get enough rest during the night. After all, who doesn't love sleep? Here's your reason to get as much as you can!

Poor sleep habits may aggravate rosacea

If you have rosacea, you know how much it can affect your day-to-day life. Not only is it painful, but it can be embarrassing too. In extreme cases, you may be too self-conscious or uncomfortable to even leave the house. This is when beauty rest comes to the rescue. According to the National Rosacea Society, sleep deprivation can lead to rosacea flare-ups because you aren't giving your skin the opportunity to rejuvenate. Proper sleep also lowers your stress levels (hello again, cortisol), reducing the chances of a flare-up, as stress is one of the leading rosacea triggers.


By improving your sleeping habits, you might notice a significant decrease in rosacea flare-ups. This means ensuring you're getting the recommended seven to nine hours every night. If you've been more stressed than usual, you may want to opt for the full nine hours, even if that means going to bed earlier than you normally do. Trust us — your skin will thank you later.

Lack of sleep leads to pale, sallow skin

Still not convinced beauty sleep benefits your skin? How about the fact that sleep deprivation can cause it to appear pale and sallow? Essentially, when you don't get enough sleep, you're decreasing the blood flow to your skin, which leads to a pale, translucent appearance, the National Library of Medicine explains. Sometimes, you may even notice a yellow or brownish tint to your face and body. This is known as sallow skin, which can make you look sickly. You may be incredibly healthy, but people may think otherwise, judging by your ghoulish appearance.


We can't stress the importance of beauty sleep enough. It isn't just a storybook trope; it genuinely betters the health and the appearance of your skin, no matter your skin concerns. Of course, getting a good night's rest isn't a cure-all, but it definitely won't make things worse — so jump into your pajamas and get in bed to catch all your recommended ZZZs!