“Got to get my beauty sleep.” We’ve been saying and hearing that line our entire lives, but how often do we actually figure sleep into our beauty routine? It’s an essential part of looking and feeling great and once you understand the many ways in which sleep is connected to skin health, you’ll never hear that phrase in the same way again.
Unpacking the connection between skin and sleep
Sleep is under-prioritised in our culture. We glorify business and feel lazy if we aren’t burning the midnight oil. In fact, a new study out of the University of Sydney has called it a “human energy crisis”- an epidemic of sleep deprivation.
Sleep is when we regenerate and the less sleep we get – well, it figures that our regeneration processes will be less effective and so will we.
The researchers found that respondents reported only having 7 hours of sleep most days and that they only woke feeling refreshed about 40% of the time. When you feel that level of fatigue your mind is severely compromised, in fact if you are awake for more than 18 hours at a time you have the mental ability of someone who is over the legal alcohol limit for driving.
When you fail to get enough sleep, it starts to show in your body very quickly with blood flow to skin becoming sluggish, your body becoming puffy, slow, and having a reduced turnover of fresh skin cells.
How does sleep benefit the skin?
The link between sleep and the health of your skin is obvious. In fact, it is the closest we will ever get to a magic youth elixir. While you sleep your body goes into deep repair mode, but only if you are getting 7-9 quality hours of sleep. Any less than six and it will rapidly begin to affect your appearance. There are four simple ways that sleep benefits your skin.
1. Fewer wrinkles
While you are asleep your cells make new collagen. This collagen is part of the architecture of your skin, and it keeps your skin taught and stops it from sagging. A skin & sleep study out of New York found that getting 5 hours a night led to twice as many fine lines as sleeping for 7 hours would. Tiredness also tends to affect your facial expressions including frowning, squinting, and furrowing our brows. This exaggerates any already sagging skin and can make it worse.
2. Less puffiness and dark eye circles
Bags under the eyes are caused by weakened tissue structures in a very delicate part of the body. It can be the eyelid muscles that lose strength, or the skin just below the eye, or both. This is exacerbated by poor sleep because sleep is when these tissues regenerate, and when you wake up after a short or restless night they can be crinkled, darkened or filled with fluid making them look puffy. Night time is also when you skin tries to repair sun damage and pigmentation so the better the quality of your sleep, the less dark spots and visible damage on your skin.
3. Glowing skin
Your body boosts blood flow to the skin during sleep and the result is a healthy glow. Without it, skin can become dull, and any skin inflammation or injuries can take longer to heal or even become exacerbated. This is particularly important for skin that is traumatised by inflammation (acne and rosacea) or suffering from sun, wind or environmental damage.
4. Products work better while you sleep
Your skin is relaxed while you are sleeping. The skin isn’t busy defending itself against the sun or the environment and it has rich, fresh and consistent blood flow which allows your skin to take on the complete benefits of your skincare and its ingredients. Skin does lose more water during sleep than it does during the day, so a creamier moisturiser is perfect just before bed so that your skin can stay deeply hydrated. The best products will also be organic skin care products as these give your skin only natural, high-quality ingredients that enhance healing, rather than any ingredients that need to be filtered out.
Preparing for a good night’s sleep for your skin
Planning for sleep can turn a chaotic sleep schedule into something peaceful and rewarding. Trying to keep to a fairly strict bedtime and routine can help your body reset its body clock and get high quality deep sleep. It is important to relax before bed and if that involves screens for you, then use blue light filtering glasses and try to get at least thirty minutes of screen free time before your turn out the lights. This will allow your central nervous system to calm down and resume the production of natural melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleeps cycle (your circadian rhythm). Without this melatonin it becomes much harder to fall and stay asleep.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep there are a lot of things you can try from chamomile tea to supplements such as valerian and passionflower, and herbal tinctures like CBD oil.
Natural perfumes and rooms sprays that use essential oils designed for sleep can help ease you into a relaxed state. VM’s Monarch natural perfume is a beautiful mix of essential organic oils and includes lavender, ylang ylang, rose, geranium and patchouli. These oils are known to calm the mind and relax the body. They are also said to balance the hormonal system and even have aphrodisiac qualities. It is one of the best natural fragrances for your mind and skin and a spritz on your pillow and neck before bed is the perfect addition to a sleep schedule.
And if none of these ideas work for you, a sustained release melatonin supplement might be your next step. Remember, it is worth exploring and getting help if sleep is problematic for you, because poor sleep is the root cause of a vast array of physical and mental health issues.
Our Holy Trinity
We love clean beauty at VM and we only make cruelty free, organic skincare. This means that whatever you are putting on your skin at bedtime is clean skincare and is only giving to your skin, not asking your skin to put in any work to filter out toxic ingredients.
The Holy Trinity is designed to clean and protect all skin types perfectly, from start to finish (it is also a brilliant anti-aging night routine if you are looking to protect your skin as you age). Our Petitgrain Ph Balancing natural cleanser cleans your skin without taking off the natural oils leaving your skin ready for protective ingredients and less likely to get dehydrated during the night. Cleansing at night is very important as you don’t want your skin dealing with clogged pores, makeup, dirt and sunscreen when it is trying to heal and repair.
Follow this with our Rose Hydrosol Pore Refining Toner mixed with a few drops of our NEO Oil. Rose Hydrosol, the second part of our Holy Trinity system, controls sebum and uses the antibacterial properties of rose essential oil to fight acne, calm rosacea and restore the skins Ph levels and NEO gives your skin all the rich emollient ingredients it needs to regenerate, hydrate and protect during the night. NEO is the ultimate combination of vitamins A, E, P, K, zinc and omega-3-6- 9 which work like an organic multi-vitamin shot to the skin to deeply nourish, protect and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
If your skin needs deeper moisture or is aging, add in our AEON Azure™ Regenerative Night Repair Crème, the best natural face moisturiser on the market (and we’re not just saying that – Aeon has won Anti-Aging Product of the Year at the International 2020 Beauty Innovation Awards, the Innovation award in the Organic Awards 2021 and the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2021 Organic Beauty Awards. These awards judge the best Australian organic skincare and VM is consistently recognised).
This rich night repair cream is an organic moisturiser actually designed to work in synergy with your sleep to achieve dermal transformation and radiance by submerging your skin in moisture, helping soothe dryness and assisting in repairing the skin's external barrier using peptides from nature and anti-ageing hero backuchiol (natures alternative to retinol). It is a natural anti-aging cream, and we believe, one of the best night creams you will ever try.
Finally, take a glass of water with you to bed, drinking it before you sleep or as soon as you wake up to re-hydrate your body, and use a pillow that slightly elevates your head and improves blood flow and lymphatic drainage. You may like to try a pillowcase that won’t irritate your skin (natural silk or copper infused satin). Creating a healthy sleep routine, environment and skin care plan will turn your night’s sleep into a rejuvenation session, one that keeps you glowing long after you wake up.