Yes, Beauty Sleep Is a Real Thing. Here’s How You Can Get More of It
In fact, we’re pretty sure you’re across the improved cognitive function, stronger immune system, improved mood and lower risk of disease that go hand in hand with adequate sleep. But sleep’s host of aesthetic benefits? There's a few, and 'beauty sleep' is actually a scientifically proven phenomenon.
In 2017, research from Stockholm University published in the Royal Society Open Science journal declared that after as little as two nights of bad sleep, we look less attractive. Ouch.
For the research, 25 volunteers were photographed after having two consecutive nights of good sleep and then again after having two awful nights of sleep (as in, a maximum of just four hours shut eye). When 122 members of the public viewed the volunteers’ photos, they perceived the sleep-restricted versions to be less healthy and less attractive.
The real clincher? The participants were less inclined to socialise with those who looked more sleep-deprived. This is because, evolutionarily-speaking, humans are more inclined to gravitate to those who appear healthy, and steer clear of those who look as though they come with a side risk of disease or poor health.
So, how exactly is our appearance impacted while we sleep? According to Dr Mikhail Varshavski, sleep is the key window where our body reduces inflammation and repairs itself.
“Sleep is incredibly important for physical appearance… [it’s] a regenerative process where we heal and where our neurons build strong connections. It’s like a fountain of youth that we dive in to every night,” Dr Varshavski said.
Your skin-repairing process generally kicks off in the early stages of deep sleep, so getting a quality night of snoozing in is going to have huge benefits for your skin.
Not sure where to start? This is how to optimise your space for those all-important eight hours.
Make your bedroom as cosy as possibleIf your sleep environment is bright, noisy and a place where you’re more likely to stare at your device than wind down peacefully before bed, that needs to change. We know it’s hard, but squirrel away your smartphone and laptop at least one hour before lights out and opt for a book or writing in a journal instead. Choose soothing dim lamps over bright overhead lights and if you want to up the ambience, burn a delicious, relaxing scent (and remember to blow it out before, you know, you actually fall asleep). It’s also important that your bed is your sanctuary. Choosing 100% pure French flax linen bedding is a good move as its temperature regulating qualities (that keep you toasty in winter, breezy in summer), moisture-wicking qualities (bye bye, sweat) and buttery softness will ensure that your space is optimised for sleep.
Make antioxidants your friendWhen you look after yourself inside and out, you’ll not only look better but feel better, too. By using skincare that’s packed with goodness before you hit the pillow, you’ll better your chances of waking up glowing and will create a pre-bed ritual that will signal to your body it’s time to wind down.
Our pick? Antioxidants. These skin heroes work hard to lessen the impact that damaging environmental exposure (think pollution and UV rays) can have on our skin. Try Australian certified organic brand Mukti Organic’s Age Defiance Night Serum, $109.95 for a potent antioxidant hit or Dermalogica’s soothing Sound Sleep Cocoon night gel-cream, $120.
If all else fails, the old cucumber-over-your-eyes trick really does work. It’s less about the cucumber and more about the fact that cold items can reduce swelling around our eyes. Alternatively, popping tea bags into water and then chilling them in the fridge before placing them on your eyes works two-fold - the cold temperature will reduce swelling and the caffeine is thought to reduce the appearance of blood vessels around the eye.
If you are concerned about your health, wellbeing or sleep, your first port of call should be your GP, who will advise a correct treatment plan.
Now that we’re on the topic, here are 10 simple ways to enhance the quality of your sleep – starting from tonight! – plus the 7 surprising things making you tired.