6 reasons sleep is better than makeup

Forget foundation—when it comes to your appearance, sleep will take you further. If you’re getting the right amount of sleep (nine to ten hours for teenagers and seven to nine hours for adults), you’re already looking more fantastic than those who don’t. From your complexion to your attitude and almost everything in between, sleep is the most important cosmetic you need.

1. It gets rid of raccoon eyes.
A first look in the mirror after a sleepless night, and you may be staring back at a raccoon. Dark circles under the eyes are a clear sign of sleep deprivation. Dermatologist Dennis Gross points out that the skin tries to protect itself against harmful elements like the sun and wind during the day. At night, though, the skin enters a state of repair, “regenerating new skin cells and cycling oxygen and nutrients.” The body removes oxygen from the blood when it is lacking sleep, and in the thin skin under the eyes, this creates the telltale darkened tint. Getting enough sleep at night will allow your skin to repair itself and be free of those dark circles.

2. It creates a symmetrical face—if you do it right.
Are you a side sleeper? According to many experts, squishing your face into a pillow can lead to long-term face asymmetry. The creases that are created in the face can even become permanent. Dr. Amanda Wong Powell, the clinical director of Courthouse Clinics, has stated that she can literally determine her patients’ sleeping positions by looking at the unevenness of their faces. Training yourself to sleep with your face up is challenging but it can be done (using a supportive pillow will help a lot). 

3. It improves your overall complexion.
Youthful skin is more resilient than older skin, but lack of sleep catches up with everyone. Tired skin can be pimple-prone, red, puffy, dry and even wrinkly. It is during sleep that your skin repairs itself and its damaged cells. So if you don’t sleep, your body can’t start that recovery process. Beauty brand Estée Lauder commissioned a first-of-its-kind study to research how poor sleep affects the skin, and the results revealed a lot about what lack of sleep does to accelerate the aging process. People who sleep poorly are prone to sagging skin, uneven pigmentation, fine lines and reduced elasticity, while people who sleep enough retain more moisture in their skin and even recover more quickly from sunburns.

4. It can help you straighten up.
Are you sleeping on the right-sized mattress? Is it a hand-me-down that has seen more sleep miles than it should? According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 92% of people believe a comfortable bed is essential in order to get decent sleep. Unfortunately, many people buy the wrong-sized mattress and end up sleeping in uncomfortable positions, which leaves them stooped over and sore the next day. Most mattresses are too old after eight to 10 years, so make sure yours is supportive and doesn’t contain lumps or depressions deeper than two inches.

The neck and spine need space to stretch out, so a correctly sized and supportive pillow is essential too. According to Mattress Firm’s health and wellness consultant Gabriel Smith, many people go wrong when it comes to buying pillows. “No one should wake up with a stiff neck,” Smith says. “Try out your pillow before you buy it. Your neck should align correctly with your spine. Contour memory foam pillows do a good job of adequately supporting the neck, but the kind of pillow you choose should be left to your preference and comfort.” There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to pillow design, but trying the pillow out in the store can be helpful. Ordering your pillow from a company that easily accepts returns is another option—this way you can try the pillow risk-free for a week or so before deciding to keep it. 

5. It makes you more approachable.
Are you not a morning person? It could be because you’re not getting adequate sleep. Most people can quickly determine how rested someone is by looking at their appearance. The Royal Society of Open Science discovered that the physical cues a tired person gives off can change how others perceive them. Dark circles, pale skin tone, slow walking speed, unkempt appearance and slower reaction time can all indicate that someone is sleep-deprived. Those surveyed remarked that tired people even seem less intelligent and reliable. People are much less likely to approach someone who looks tired. 

6. It helps prevent wrinkles.
Spending money on pricey face creams is not nearly as efficient as getting a good night’s sleep. Collagen regenerates while you are sleeping, making skin plumper, more elastic and wrinkle-free. Dermatologist Patricia Wexler says that only sleeping five hours at night causes twice the amount of fine lines than sleeping for seven because your skin dries out as you sleep. The more often you miss out on sleep, the worse it can get. In fact, the Sleep School in London found that getting only six hours of sleep for five nights in a row increased wrinkles and fine lines by 45 percent! 

So how do you get those hours you need? Bedtime routine is key. Smith suggests following a consistent bedtime routine such as taking a bath, brushing your teeth, washing your face and then reading right before trying to sleep. Beware of electronic devices like smartphones and tablets right before bed—the blue light they put off can disturb your sleep and prevent you from falling asleep in time to get enough hours of rest. Reading a paperback is preferable and will help you fall asleep faster.

Sleep is the most restorative time of our day. It can leave you fresh, bright and ready to take on the world if you get enough of it. Your skin will thank you later.

How much sleep do *you* get each night? Tell us below! 

by Hilary Thompson | 10/19/2017
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