Sleeping Well, Looking Good: Tips for Getting a Restful Night’s Sleep
Guest Author: Sheila Olson
Have you ever told someone they look like they’ve been ridden hard and put away wet? It’s a common expression meaning someone isn’t looking their best. It’s certainly true of people when they look as though they didn’t get a good night’s sleep. In fact, science has shown that when you don’t sleep well at night, your appearance suffers as a result. It’s not surprising when you consider how important sleep is to nearly every physiological function. Losing sleep means your immune system, metabolism, and mental capacity all suffer — you can add the way you look in the morning to that list.
How It Works
During sleep, your cells repair and rebuild themselves; it’s an important function that only takes place at night. When your sleep suffers, this natural form of self-healing is impeded, leaving you looking haggard and worn. Lack of sleep places stress on the body in many ways, and your skin bears the evidence. Capillaries constrict, which impairs the flow of nutrients that make your skin and hair look lustrous and fresh.
Remember to hydrate before bed by drinking water, and try to use a hydrating lotion each night. Sufficient hydration helps maintain a healthy glow to your skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Hydrating flushes out impurities and improves blood flow, especially to your facial area and scalp.
Aging makes it more difficult for the body to repair (and makeup to cover) any imperfections since skin loses collagen and, consequently, elasticity. The result is the saggy, jowly skin that causes people to avoid mirrors like vampires as they get older. Sleep experts recommend learning to sleep on your back, which is not an easy thing to do if you’ve always slept face down and on your stomach.
The accumulation of fluid overnight makes eyes look puffy, which you can prevent by elevating your head above your body as you sleep. It’s an adjustment, but working through the crick in your neck will pay off in a healthier-looking face. The right pillow can help, but it may require some trial and error.
Assess Your Mattress
A worn-out mattress can also get in the way of a restful night’s sleep. Mattress design and technology have advanced to the point where it’s easier than ever to find one that allows you to sleep in a healthy position and uninterrupted through the night. It’s important to find a mattress that aligns well with your sleep style and the way you prefer to lie in bed. Pay attention to online guides and reviews, and try out a mattress before buying — move from front to back and ensure it isn’t too hard or soft.
The Right Environment
Don’t underestimate the importance of your sleep environment and how it impacts your ability to restorative sleep. You need good oxygen flow, so turn down the heat and maintain a cool sleep space — as cool as you can bear it. The room should be completely dark so your sleep isn’t impaired by light. Try getting to bed at the same time every night to get your sleepy at the same time every night (melatonin in your brain usually kicks in around 11 pm).
How you sleep also has an effect on your appearance. If you are a lifelong stomach sleeper, you could end up with some unsightly effects that can be very difficult to undo. For those who sleep face down, blood vessels tighten up and your circulatory system releases congested fluid from blood vessels, which result in “raccoon eyes,” or the dark circles that are so often associated with a lack of sleep. Those circles are the result of fluid pooling in the little blood vessels under the skin below your eyes.
If you’re concerned about the way your skin is aging, bear in mind the importance of sleep and the impact it has on your appearance. Everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and remember that the less you sleep on your face, the less your face will show signs of aging. Maintain a sleep-conducive environment, and replace your mattress if it’s affecting your sleep.