5 Proven Ways to Achieve Beauty Sleep [+ Free Sleep Tracker]
Have you ever been asked, “Are you feeling all right?” when you weren’t sick? Told you look drowsy when you thought you’d gotten enough sleep the night before? These comments don’t feel good, but they can help draw attention to a need you may be unknowingly neglecting: beauty sleep.
The term “beauty sleep” may feel overused and outdated, but as it turns out there’s quite a bit of truth to it. This guide unpacks what beauty sleep really is and helps you get your sleep habits on track so you can look and feel your very best. Throw on your comfiest pajamas and let’s dive in!
What Is Beauty Sleep?
Beauty sleep refers to the restorative process that occurs during deep sleep that heals skin, reduces inflammation and improves mood.
Often, beauty sleep is used to describe sleeping well and waking up with glowing skin and a bright smile. While improved physical appearance is certainly a benefit of beauty sleep — which we’ll explore in greater detail shortly — it is a mentally restorative process as well.
Just as we wash our clothes and hop in the shower to feel fresh and renewed, we sleep to declutter our brains and prepare them for the next day’s stimuli.
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Breus, also known as The Sleep Doctor, failing to get sufficient sleep can “clutter your brain with a lot of information it doesn’t need, since proper rest also works to discard any unneeded memories or information.”
How Many Hours Are Necessary for Beauty Sleep?
To achieve beauty sleep, it’s important to first ensure you’re sleeping for the recommended number of hours for your age.
According to findings from the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults should regularly get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Teenagers should get even more, with eight to 10 hours deemed appropriate.
8 Science-Backed Benefits of Beauty Sleep
Sleep takes up a third of our lives, so needless to say it’s been studied quite a bit. The following section will dive into some valuable research-backed benefits you can expect from getting high-quality sleep every night.
1. Fewer Signs of Aging
Your dreams aren’t the only thing taking you back to your youth. Sleep itself actually slows the visible aging process by minimizing wrinkles. This is thanks to collagen, a prolific protein our bodies use for several purposes, including providing our skin with structure and elasticity.
Here’s the catch — collagen requires sleep. Deep sleep. The more sleep you get, the more collagen your skin produces and the less you wrinkle.
In addition to supporting collagen production, better sleep also keeps skin hydrated. Dry skin is notorious for intensifying the appearance of wrinkles, so quality sleep can help to smooth out wrinkles that already exist.
2. Reduced Eye Inflammation
Have you ever looked in the mirror after a sleepless night and wondered why your eyes look so swollen? In a study comparing the appearances of sleep-deprived and rested people, sleep-deprived people were perceived as having significantly more swollen eyes.
But why is this? Another study by the American Psychology Association showed that adults who sleep under eight hours per night reported greater stress levels than those who sleep eight or more hours per night. Stress can have all kinds of unhealthy effects on the body, including the production of cortisol. Cortisol increases water retention, which is the reason for those puffy eyes that can make you appear unwell.
3. Reduced Acne
Cortisol becomes a roadblock once again when it comes to preventing acne. As you’ve probably heard, stress can cause acne breakouts by increasing oil production and clogging pores.
You may be wondering, “Does lack of sleep cause acne?” One study aiming to answer this question found a potential relationship between acne and sleep quality. Evidence certainly supports that poor sleep can contribute to more severe breakouts, but other habits such as how often you wash your bedding and clean your skin also matter.
4. Brighter and Healthier Complexion
It’s no wonder where Sleeping Beauty got her name. Sleep and skin health truly go hand-in-hand — a claim that has been backed by research time and time again.
Sleep has been shown to improve blood flow, an essential function that allows for excellent blood distribution. This keeps your skin looking bright and beautiful, doing justice to your inner beauty.
5. More Impactful Skin Care
Believe it or not, great sleep can help your skin care products go the extra mile to keep your skin healthy. Many of these products get absorbed deep into the skin and help repair damage, but they could use some support.
Consistent blood flow during sleep helps your skin take advantage of these products’ restorative properties and heal even better overnight. Before you blame your skin care products for lack of results, make sure you’re giving your body the rest it needs for them to do their job.
6. Easier Weight Management
Sleeping is just resting for an extended period of time, so it’s not like sleep can help you lose weight — right? Actually, researchers widely agree that poor sleep can put you at greater risk of obesity by over 27%.
This is because sleep helps regulate your body weight and metabolism, and lack of sleep causes your body to produce more ghrelin — a hormone that makes you feel hungry and store fat. If this research tells us anything, it’s that weight loss needs to be tackled from several angles. If working out doesn’t seem to be cutting it, it might be time to take a closer look at your sleep habits.
7. Improved Mood and Self-Esteem
If you feel grumpy the morning after a night of poor sleep, you’re not alone. One study revealed that sleep quality has a significant impact on mood. The same study showed that mood can also impact sleep quality, so grumpiness and sleepiness can easily become a pretty frustrating cycle.
Beauty isn’t just about how healthy our skin looks — it’s also about the way we feel. When we lack quality sleep, feelings of depression often develop and show in our self-care, our relationships and the way we carry ourselves. Developing healthy sleep habits is a great place to start if you find yourself falling into this cycle.
8. Higher Energy Levels
It’s common knowledge that the amount of sleep you get impacts your energy levels the following day. One study revealed that sleep loss has a significant impact on our choices that require effort, which could even put our safety at risk. For example, deciding whether to pull over to rest when driving late at night becomes much more challenging when sleep-deprived.
Self-love is about making the best decisions for our health and safety. By prioritizing sleep, we’re making the active choice to treat ourselves better and make wiser choices.
5 Tips To Score More Beauty Sleep
Of course, everyone has a different body and nobody sleeps exactly the same way. That said, there are some strategies that have been proven to help people embrace “slow beauty,” improving how we look and feel when we wake up in the morning.
1. Hydrate Before Bed
We’ve all heard a million times that drinking plenty of water is one of the best things we can do for our health. This holds true for overnight skin health, too! Though the impact of hydration on skin health has yet to be extensively researched, one study noted reduced signs of skin dryness and roughness following additional water intake.
If you want to avoid rushing to the restroom in the middle of the night, you don’t have to chug a couple glasses of water. Try eating healthy foods that hydrate an hour before bed, such as cucumbers, celery or watermelon.
Especially in dry months, it’s common for skin and hair to dry out overnight. Once you’ve hydrated for the night, don’t forget to use conditioner in your hair when you shower and apply moisturizer on your skin. Moisturizers help create a protective barrier over your skin so that you retain water and stay hydrated.
If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis or another condition that causes particularly dry skin, you might consider investing in a humidifier. Humidifiers release water vapor into the air, creating a humid environment that’s friendly to dry skin.
3. Stick to a Calming Bedtime Routine
It can be tempting to scroll through social media or draft work emails right before bed. Unfortunately, these activities expose you to blue light that disrupts your circadian rhythm by tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime.
You also never know what you’re going to see while scrolling — the internet is filled with stressors that could flood your brain with cortisol (a hormone that increases heart rate and energy supply) and disrupt your sleep.
Instead of using your phone or laptop, devote the hour before bed to reading a book, meditating, drinking some caffeine-free tea or listening to calming music. These calming activities are a much better way to unwind from the day and ease you into beauty sleep.
4. Keep Your Space Clean
Your bedroom is your sleep sanctuary, so it’s important to keep this space tidy and comfortable. Dust and dirt settle over time and often go unnoticed, but these can carry allergens that disrupt sleep.
Set reminders to dust and vacuum every other week (at minimum) to keep your space looking and feeling great. Consider going a step further by investing in an air purifier to filter dust and other irritants out of the air.
Lastly, don’t forget about your bedding! Sheets, pillowcases and blankets collect germs over time that can induce acne breakouts. Wash sheets and pillowcases every week and comforters or other top blankets every month.
5. Choose Food and Drinks Wisely
What we don’t put into our bodies is just as important as what we do when it comes to sleep wellness. Salty and greasy foods, for example, can cause inflammation during sleep and may disrupt sleep quality. They can also dry out your mouth, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night feeling like a fish out of water.
Caffeine and alcohol are also known to disrupt sleep. It’s a common misconception that because alcohol can make you sleepy, it helps you sleep better. In reality, alcohol consumption deteriorates sleep quality significantly.
Ultimately, remember to consume these foods and drinks in moderation and try to avoid them altogether the few hours before bedtime.
As you continue your journey with beauty sleep and start setting health goals for the new year, consider downloading our printable sleep trackers below.
Beauty Sleep FAQs
Certain bedtime routines work great for some people and not so great for others. If you have a million questions about how to make beauty sleep work for you, you’re not alone. We address some common questions about this phenomenon below.
Is Beauty Sleep a Real Thing?
Yes! Beauty sleep is much more than a cliché. Research shows that quality sleep and sleep hygiene are important determinants in how we look and feel. If you’re working on feeling healthier, rejuvenating your skin and improving your self-esteem, beauty sleep is a great place to start.
How Do I Get Rid of Sleep Wrinkles?
Sleep wrinkles, or sleep lines, are the result of laying on your side or stomach with your face pressed against your pillow. Here are some tips for getting rid of sleep wrinkles and preventing them to begin with:
- Sleep on your back
- Avoid sleeping on your hands and arms
- Wear a sleep mask
- Use skin care products that help smooth out wrinkles
Why Does My Skin Look Better in the Morning?
During the day, our bodies are exposed to sunlight, harsh weather, dirt and other elements that clog pores and cause irritation. Our blood vessels also dilate during the day, which can make skin imperfections more defined.
On the other hand, when we sleep, our cells repair and regenerate at a much faster rate than when we’re awake. If you’ve developed an effective skin care routine, those products have time to work overnight as well, contributing to morning glow.
How Can I Improve My Appearance After a Sleepless Night?
Ideally, we’d get great beauty sleep every night. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and we often can’t hit our desired seven to nine hours. On the days you get out of bed feeling restless and worried about your appearance, try out the following tips:
- Cool your eyes with ice packs, chilled cucumbers, etc.
- Take a cold shower or bath
- Go for a quick jog
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants, like blueberries
Beauty sleep is an important part of any healthy self-care regimen, but it can take some effort. Use the tips above as inspiration to help you improve your sleep and wake up loving what you see in the mirror.