Did you know the sleep you catch every night can have a powerful impact on your skin health? Here’s how.

If you’ve ever been sleep-deprived, it means your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol can lead to increased stress and inflammation in the body, which in turn can hurt your skin’s quality. This is why a good night’s sleep, among other things, can promote good skin health.

However, the relationship between skin health and lack of quality sleep can be a vicious cycle. This is especially true for people with conditions such as atopic dermatitis or eczema, which prompts the urge to scratch all night, as noted by recent research published in the journal Clinics in Dermatology.

“Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis,” states Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and founder of Art of Dermatology in New York. In the end you get increased itching, which can disrupt sleep. As the horrible cycle continues, skin conditions and sleep quality can progressively worsen together. In contrast, skin conditions and sleep quality can also progress together. Because getting a good night’s sleep will help clear up skin, it will allow sleep to improve and, in turn, will improve skin health and your health in general.

Below are 6 reasons why not getting enough sleep diminishes your skin health and health in general:

  1. Not getting enough sleep can worsen existing skin conditions. An increased inflammatory response prompts increased acne breakouts, increased skin sensitivity, increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions, and increased irritant dermatitis — and severe skin conditions means more treatment and skin care.
  2. Not getting enough sleep can diminish your skin’s natural beauty. An increase in inflammatory cells in the body can cause an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give the skin its glow, bounce, and translucency.
  3. Not getting enough sleep worsens immune-related skin problems. An increase of inflammation in the body negatively impacts the body’s ability to regulate the immune system, which causes people to not only get sick more often, but also to flares of immune-related skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis is not only a skin disease but also a sign of body inflammation. Dr. Krant says, “Many people with severe psoriasis actually have an increased risk for heart attacks, which is even more reason to keep stress low and get good quality sleep.”
  4. Not getting enough sleep results in less beauty. Your body’s hydration rebalances while you’re sleeping. Excess water in the body is processed for removal during sleep and skin is able to recover moisture. Not getting enough sleep causes poor water balance, which leads to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
  5. Not getting enough sleep hastens the aging process. When a person is in deep sleep, the rise in their growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired. When you lack the deeper phases of sleep, this does not occur, allowing daily small breakdowns to add up instead of being reversed overnight. This causes more noticeable signs of aging.
  6. Not getting enough sleep contributes to weight gain. Sleep is a great aid in weight management as well, which is also good for your skin. Lastly, sleep makes you less likely to feel hungry, Krant explains — recent studies have correlated sleep deprivation with excess snacking and calorie consumption.

Here are some tips for getting good sleep and better skin health:

  • Avoid eating a big meal too late in the day.
  • Ensure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day, but not late at night.
  • Try sleeping under a warm blanket in a cool, dark, quiet room.
  • Ban electronics from the bedroom.
  • Utilize breathable cotton sheets and make sure to wash them frequently, to avoid collecting dust mites and bacteria.
  • Avoid using laundry detergents that have strong fragrances, which can be irritating to skin

The old cliché of getting your beauty sleep still holds true — it’s a necessity for having skin that glows!