• Ageing Due to Lack of Sleep

Ageing Due to Lack of Sleep

Sleeping Beauty I say to myself time and time again; eat healthily, exercise more and early nights. As far as exercise is concerned, I’ve given up getting yet another fitness club membership. I now try stepping on my bike more often, taking the kids to the woods at the weekend and yoga exercise now and then. I can manage healthy eating quite well, especially after having read “De Voedselzandloper” by Kris Verburgh. Also knowledge of the vast amount of research showing the major effects vitamins and herbal ingredients have on how the body functions. Sufficient sleep however is, where I am concerned, a very different story. The alarm goes off at least four times every morning before I even hear it. And having promised myself to get out after counting to a hundred, I fall asleep again. I eventually wake up far too late and have to rush at break neck speed to get myself and my four children dressed, fed, packed and ready for the car. So no, I’m not really a morning person, but it doesn’t help much that I go to bed very late. I always enjoy evening time and find it very difficult to take myself upstairs at a reasonable hour. Nevertheless there is a very good reason why I should do this; according to recent research, enough sleep not only helps with weight loss, reduces risk of heart and vascular disease and a happy frame of mind but also for healthy skin. In other words; lack of sleep will cause bags and dark circles around your eyes, wrinkles, spots and dull and sagging skin…. Good morning!

The evidence
A study in Sweden revealed that people with sleep deprivation suffered far more with drooping eyelids, red and swollen eyes, dark circles, pale complexions, wrinkles, fine lines and drooping mouths than people who had sufficient sleep. Another study (also in Sweden) showed that people who had less sleep were seen as less attractive and healthy. Dr. Baron from Cleveland also carried out research into the effect on the skin from long term sleep deprivation. Results showed that people with lack of sleep or restless sleeping over a long period of time showed a higher chance of premature ageing. In conjunction with this, the skin in people who’d had enough sleep recovered more quickly after sun damage or skin irritation.

The equipment
In his article, “Can Poor Sleep Affect Skin Integrity?” Dr. Cahan from the University of Sao Paolo wrote extensively on how lack of sleep has an effect on the skin. Without going into too much detail about all of the specific chemicals which cause skin damage, it appears that lack of sleep is responsible for an increase in cortisol. This hormone is produced by the adrenal gland and is also released through stress. An increase in cortisol levels can increase the likelihood of spots. This is not only because inflammation causing chemicals are created in our bodies, but also because sebum production increases. Slightly conflicting perhaps but cortisol also helps to reduce the production of Hyaluronic Acid. This Hyaluronic Acid is necessary for keeping the skin well hydrated. The skin becomes more dehydrated because of the damage that the cortisol causes to the skin barrier function allowing more moisture to evaporate from the skin and eventually (in spite of the initial rise in sebum production) it becomes dull and dry. Alongside this, the skin can become irritated, inflamed or red. A long term rise in the cortisol levels increases the number of sugars in the blood and along with this the increase in collagen saccharification. In simple terms, sugars attach themselves to the collagen and cause it to become inflexible…(also known as glycation or glycosylation). And if all of that isn’t bad enough, through the build up of cortisol, your body makes chemicals which attack and break down the collagen.

There is another hormone which has an effect on the quality of your skin and that is melatonin. When the sun goes down and dusk arrives, our bodies start to make melatonin. This melatonin is responsible for ensuring that you can sleep well, but it also has a number of positive effects on the skin. It protects against cell damage, helps with skin healing and sees to it that the skin produces new collagen. A group of Turkish researchers showed that the skin of rats significantly deteriorated when they were no longer able to produce melatonin. The melatonin levels will also remain low in ‘night owls’. I don’t think I need to explain what the outcome of this will be….

Good skincare is more than applying creams
Insufficient sleep is therefore not good for your skin, there is no doubt about that. Although you won’t get more wrinkles overnight, long term sleep deprivation can be harmful. And if you click on the image below you can see that this doesn’t only apply to your skin! Finally, you need more than just a miracle cream to keep your skin in top condition. Sleep, diet and reducing stress are also essential for a beautiful, healthy and radiant skin.

I will tell you more very soon about diet and how it relates to your skin’s condition…

Regards Jetske

(Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read:
Is There a Cure for Bags?‘,
Is There a Cure for Dark Circles under Your Eyes?‘,
The Effects of Stress on the Skin‘, and
Mind Your Skin‘.