How Sleep Improves Your Skin

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

We all know a good nights sleep is important. Better sleep = waking up feeling refreshed and revitalised, and it improves your mood and concentration. But is beauty sleep a real thing?


As cliched as the notion of beauty sleep can sound, it is important to get the recommended amount of sleep to keep your skin looking its best. It goes without saying that most of us aren’t getting enough sleep, no thanks to being in an always-on work-life culture. The stress of day to day life can have a huge impact on our skin. Sleep is key to our bodies overall health, and it is also a key factor in improving the look of your skin, as well as preventing skin issues from being aggravated. So whether you are getting later nights or earlier mornings because of work, travelling to a different time zone or just can’t switch off, its important to schedule in those precious 8 hours.  Heres so reasons why sleep is so important to maintaining healthy skin.

Skin repairs and renews overnight

When we lay our head down to sleep at night, our skin goes into a recovery mode and starts to repair and regenerate. The regeneration process can be up to three times quicker than it is during the daytime when your skin is on alert protecting itself from free radicals, UV rays, and pollutants. While we are sleeping, HGH (The human growth hormone) kicks in and starts to accelerate skin repair and cell regeneration. This growth hormone is released in the first 3 hours of sleep but tends to crash after this time. As you slip into a deeper sleep, your blood flow becomes more regulated and is distributed more evenly throughout the body. The nightly renewal process is when your skin is able to absorb more from your nighttime creams and treatments, due to your skin being in a heightened regeneration phase. Without enough deep sleep to support this process, your skin will not be able to regenerate to the fullest, which can lead to duller, tired-looking skin.

Sleep helps your skin appear more radiant

We’ve all been there – you’ve had an awful nights sleep and when you wake up and take a look in the mirror, your eyes look puffy and dark, your skin looks dull and can look blotchy, not to mention you feel less awake. This is because when we sleep, our cortisol levels are lower, and collagen production increases, which is what makes our skin looks more “awake”. When you don’t get enough sleep, its a stressor on our bodies, and makes it harder for cell regeneration to occur. This can make your skin look ashen and dull. Too little sleep causes the blood vessels in your body to expand. This causes blood to pool and settle under your eyes, causing those dark circles – the classic giveaway that you didn’t get your full night’s sleep. Without the deeper phases of sleep, daily small breakdowns accumulate instead of being reversed overnight. This results in more noticeable signs of ageing. No amount of anti-ageing night creams will compensate for a lack of sleep, and they won’t be able to work to their fullest capabilities if you aren’t getting enough of it.


Lack of sleep can lead to breakouts and skin condition flare-ups

If your skin is having a hard time regenerating cells because it’s not getting the rest it needs,  the older skin cells can dull your complexion, and clog pores, which leads to breakouts. Sleep deprivation, like stress, creates a lot of reactions in the body; one being that it can create a cascade of various hormonal mechanisms that can worsen acne.  Sleep is the thing your skin needs to build new cells—so when you get enough of it, your complexion starts to look clearer and more luminous.  lack of sleep can result in an increase in cortisol which can lead to skin inflammation, improper healing and conditions like acne, and rosacea.  It induces the adrenal glands into overproduction of cortisol, a steroid, which in turn makes sebaceous glands produce more oil and make skin extra oily. The increased inflammatory response from the raised cortisol levels shows up as increased acne breakouts, increased skin sensitivity, increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions, and increased irritant dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema — and more severe conditions mean more treatment and skincare.


Tips to remember for better skin overnight
  • Always remember to wash off all your makeup before bed. Foundations and powders can clog your pores and prevent skin from being able to breathe overnight. At the very minimum, wash your face and remove all traces of makeup with a makeup remover and cleanser.
  • Use an overnight mask if your skin is needing a boost. After cleansing, apply a thin layer all over your face and wait 10-15 minutes before going to bed to allow it to sink into your skin. The same advice should be followed with any moisturisers and serums.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain your skins moisture levels from the inside. Dehydrated skin is more prone to skin issues such as premature ageing. During sleep, our bodies deliver vital fluids to our organs and tissues, while also removing excess fluids from other areas. Drinking enough water helps to maintain this process while you sleep.
  • Aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. During sleep, our bodies release human growth hormones, a vital ingredient for collagen production with gives shiny hair, strong nails and glowing skin. Make sure you have a good, consistent bedtime routine and make time to wind down before bed and relax, allowing you to slip into a deep and restful sleep waking up with glowing radiant skin.



The bottom line? No amount of product can work it’s magic like the power of a seven to nine-hour slumber. Read our blog here on how to create a great sleep routine and start sleeping better tonight.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.