Beauty Sleep: Truth or Myth?

Posted by: on Nov 13, 2012 | No Comments


We’ve all been told at one time or another that beauty sleep is essential. We often think that a good night sleep is the perfect time to rest physically and mentally but not many of us are aware that the perfect nights sleep impacts on our complexion. So it seems that ‘beauty sleep’ isn’t just a myth.

Mariah Carey is said to get up to 15 hours, Penelope Cruz says 14 hours does the trick whilst Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellweger claim it is their ultimate beauty secret. Sleep rejuvenates us in many ways so we have discovered the little-known beauty tips that will help you to make the most of your bedtime.

Penelope Cruz

We are all told that 8 hours sleep is all an adult needs. Yet, it appears its not quite that simple if you’re looking for maximum beauty benefit. Plus, many of us are guilty of skipping on sleep to catch up with work, TV or partying. It appears that if you want to look like an A-lister catching a few more Z’s is just what the doctor ordered…

Geoff Wright, director of The Hair And Beauty Partnership in London, a clinic which specialises in analysing skin problems says: There are set times when our body clock dictates that various processes take place in hair and skin. ‘From 8pm to 11pm is the time for hydration and stimulation, while 11pm to 3am is the time for nutrition and regeneration, and 3am to 5am is the time for resting.’

Of course, very few adults are in bed at 8pm and, as the hormone that triggers sleep – melatonin – peaks at around 11pm, this is the time we should naturally get tired. Chronic lack of sleep, or poor-quality sleep, has an incredibly negative effect on the way we feel – and on the way we look. When we are asleep, our cells rebuild and repair themselves (the growth hormone functions only at night). If you don’t sleep, this function is impaired.

If you sleep badly, you are likely to become stressed, and this can cause the capillaries to tighten up, affecting the flow of nutrients to the skin and scalp and causing the skin and hair to look dull.

Top Tips!

Cleanse: Cleansing before bed is crucial if you want to feel the full impact of beauty sleep. Taking away the grease and grime that you pick up from the day will allow your skin to breathe and regenerate. However, when you wake up from a good night’s sleep only cleanse in the morning with water, no products. Penelope Cruz told Daybreak, “When you wake up, just splash water, nothing else”. This is because when you wake up your skin is harbouring all of its natural oils that help it to heal and prevent breakouts.

Use a night cream: A cream that is too rich and clogging can cut the skin’s oxygen supply, contributing to poor micro circulation and puffiness, particularly around the eyes. Night-creams or rich serums containing anti-ageing compounds to repair and firm the skin can be particularly effective when used in conjunction with a long sleep. Try Regenerist Night Renewal Elixir by Olay, £24.99. It might be a little on the pricey side but it’s deeply hydrating as well as softening, working wonders while you sleep!

Night cream

Lie on your back: However well you sleep, you may still wake up with puffy eyes and dark circles if you are sleeping in an awkward position. These problems are caused by constriction of the blood flow to the skin. ‘If you sleep face-down the blood vessels will become constricted and the circulatory system releases congested fluid from tiny flaps in the walls ofthese vessels,’ says Cosmetologist Colette Haydon. The dark circles are actually tiny blood vessels ‘pooling’ under the thin, delicate skin below the eyes. Lying on your back with your head slightly raised above your body will ease puffiness and dark circles.

Mood and Setting:
 Make sure the room is well ventilated. You are bound to have a better night’s sleep in a cool room and this will aid circulation for your skin. Make sure the room is dark, heating is off and you have a window open. Try not to exercise immediately before sleep, turn off finishing using a computer or phone a few hours before sleeping and stay hydrated with water. Avoid tea, coffee and hot chocolate that contain caffeine.  Try to go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day to get into a routine.