Welcome back guest writer, Sheila Olson, as she discusses the effect of sleep on the body in this week's installment of Yoga Living Project.  Does this spur ideas for a blog you'd like to share? If so, reach out to Austin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Truth About Beauty Sleep


Beauty sleep is more than an excuse for sleeping in on Saturday morning. The quality of your sleep has a direct impact on your appearance, particularly your skin and hair. If you want to preserve your youthful appearance and reap the many other benefits that high-quality sleep has to offer, these are the things you need to understand.

Sleep and Your Skin

It’s no surprise that your sleep affects your skin. After all, who hasn’t woken up after a late night with puffy eyes and a dull complexion? However, you might not realize just how deep the connection goes. When you sleep, your body produces growth hormones that repair skin tissue damaged by sun, stress, and aging. These hormones also stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that keeps your skin looking plump and youthful.


Sleep also eases the inflammation that contributes to acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments. That’s because poor-quality sleep messes with your immune system. When your immune system isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation that shows up as puffiness, blotchiness, and redness. Over time, inflammation accelerates the aging process so you start noticing fine lines and wrinkles earlier than you should. You can learn more about how inflammation affects your beauty and health at Johns Hopkins Health Review.


Sleep isn’t all good news for your skin: When you sleep, your skin loses moisture in a process known as transepidermal water loss. While your skin can lose moisture at any time of day, water loss speeds up at night when your skin is at its most permeable. The bright side: You can use that permeability to your advantage by applying a nourishing moisturizer before bed so it absorbs overnight. Also, drink plenty of water so your skin stays hydrated at every time of day.

Sleep and Your Hair

Your youthful skin isn’t the only thing you’re risking when you skimp on sleep. Sleep deprivation also leads to hair loss — and there’s nothing like a thinning head of hair to make you look years beyond your age. Hair growth is stimulated while you sleep. However, if you’re not sleeping enough or sleeping poorly, that growth halts and your stress skyrockets. Stress, in turn, triggers a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium. As Verywell Mind explains, it can take up to three months after your stress rises for hair to start falling out. If you’re losing strands and can’t pin down a cause, it’s worth examining your sleep habits over the past few months.

5 Tips for Better Beauty Sleep

If you want to optimize your beauty rest, these five tips are the best place to start:


  1. Get enough sleep. Most adults need between seven and nine hours per night, but pay attention to how you feel to nail down the right amount of sleep for you.
  2. Stay hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. Make a point to sip on water throughout the day. If you struggle to drink enough, give Refinery29’s tips a try.
  3. Perfect your bedtime skincare routine. A good skincare routine ensures your skin absorbs moisture overnight, not blemish-causing impurities. After washing with a gentle cleanser and warm water, apply moisturizer so you wake up with hydrated, glowing skin.
  4. Sleep on a silk pillowcase. Not only do silk pillowcases draw less moisture from the skin than cotton pillowcases, but they also reduce friction between you and your pillowcase for less hair breakage and potentially fewer wrinkles.
  5. Keep your bedroom cool. Sweating in a hot bedroom speeds up moisture loss. Keep your bedroom between 60 and 68 degrees for better sleep and better skin.
  6. If outdoor light has a tendency to keep you awake at night (or during the day), a good set of blackout curtains can help you find the sleep you need. Another source of light that might cause you some trouble: your television. If at all possible, move it out of the room altogether, or at least turn it off an hour or so before you hit the hay.


Skin and hair care products are fabulous tools for maximizing your looks, but they can’t erase the signs of sleep deprivation. If your skin and hair aren’t looking as vibrant as they used to, examine your sleep habits before you reach for a quick-fix solution. You just might discover that sleep is the secret beauty fix you’ve been searching for.

Image via Unsplash

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