Lack of sleep is no joke. I should know. Last year while I was going to school full-time, five days a week, eight hours a day, I was also working four nights a week slinging drinks behind the bar until two in the morning. There were multiple times a week where I would only have four or five hours from the time I got off work until the time I had to be back in school again. Forget having a social life. I didn’t even have time to squeeze in a much-needed nap. Not getting enough ZZZ’s a night quickly brought on the dark circles and bags underneath my eyes. Sleep deprivation was not only affecting the way I looked, but also left me grumpy and made it incredibly hard to focus.
A recent study done by the British Medical Journal helped prove that “Beauty Sleep” is indeed a fact. The Swedish study was performed using 23 men and women, between the ages of 18 and 31. All of the participants were photographed after having a normal night’s sleep (an uninterrupted 8 hours) and were photographed again after being awake for 31 hours with only having four to five hours of sleep. All of the pictures taken of the participants in the study included the same lighting with the same amount of distance from the camera to the participant being photographed. None of the participants wore makeup. The pictures were then randomly presented to 65, untrained observers who rated the photographs. The study showed that the pictures of sleep deprived participants were rated by the untrained observers as being less attractive, less healthy and more tired looking than the same photographed participants who had a normal night’s sleep.
Now as a Beauty Advisor by day, the number one question I’m asked is how to reduce eye puffiness and dark circles. Sleep deprivation shows up more prominently on our face as we age. Workaholics may be paying their dues, but their skin is paying the consequences. Lack of sleep causes our complexions to be dull, dark circles around the eyes, increased eye puffiness and is the instigator of fine lines and wrinkles. According to Dr. Howard Murad, a certified dermatologist, “Progressive loss of cellular water may be one reason sleepless nights affect our skin more visibly as we age. Water retention is key to keeping skin moisturized and supple, which can translate to fewer lines and a smoother complexion.”
Dr. Nicholas Perricone MD, CNS, a board certified dermatologist, anti-aging expert and best selling author calls a normal night’s sleep (an uninterrupted eight hours) a daily eight hour intensive rejuvenating experience. Dr. Perricone describes sleep as a time where cells rejuvenate themselves and repair damage from the previous day. He strongly agrees that having a normal night’s sleep will lead to restored luminosity in the skin, improve the skin’s tone and texture and therefore lead to fewer fine lines and an overall glow to the skin..
Forget over-priced eye creams, serums and moisturizers. An expensive product may help cover up the signs of sleep deprivation, but there isn’t a product on the market that can do for the skin what a full, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep a night will do. My severe lack of sleep experience last year made me realize that one of the best, easiest and cheapest forms of beauty advice is to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Bonus points if you can manage to always have a regular bedtime schedule and stick to it, even on your days off.