As vain as it may sound, the benefits of beauty rest are very real. No amount of moisturizing creams or brightening peels can give your skin the fresh-faced glow of a restful night’s beauty sleep, but even with the best intentions, we may not be getting the most out of those twilight hours of rest. Everything from sleep position to bedding can have an impact on the positive results you get from your slumber, so here’s how to do it right.
Yes, better sleep can give you better skin.
“Not [getting] enough sleep takes away from your skin’s natural beauty [because] increased inflammatory cells in the body lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give the skin its radiance, its natural glow, bounce, and translucency,” says dermatologist Adebola Dele-Michael of Radiant Skin Dermatology and Laser. Getting enough sleep can help ease your existing skin conditions such as fewer breakouts and decreased sensitivity to decreased allergic contact dermatitis reactions. Dermatologist Fayne L. Frey concurs, pointing out a sleep study which determined that “chronic inadequate and poor quality sleep” accelerates “intrinsic aging.” The study also found that poor sleepers have a diminished capacity to recover from skin stressors and are more dissatisfied with their appearance than good sleepers.
Sleep on your back.
Be sure to sleep on your back or side, says Dr. Rick Loos, a sleep expert, chiropractor, and inventor of Proper Pillow. Sleeping on your stomach can cause you to “crush” the collagen in your face, resulting in less elasticity and plumpness in the skin which can lead to premature wrinkling. The skin is like an elastic band, and the more we stretch it and move it, the more lax it can become, says Marisa Martino, co-founder of New York City’s SKINNEY Medspa
Check your position.
Sleep in optimum alignment for better blood flow to your skin. If your dream is to wake up with rosy cheeks (and why wouldn’t it be?), be sure you are sleeping with your neck and spine aligned so that oxygen can properly flow to your head and face, Loos says.
Remove or minimize caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake—these stimulants affect your sleep schedule and block important sleep-inducing mechanisms in the body, which prevent you from falling and staying asleep, says Loos.
Regulate your biological clock to that of the environment.
Spending time in the early morning light is a great way to reset your internal clock, preparing you for a good night’s sleep, Loos says.
Sleep with a silk eye mask.
Your immediate area area is the most delicate skin on your face, so sleeping with a silk or satin eye mask is critical for anti-aging. Not only does the mask help relax the eyes to reduce dark circles and puffiness, Martino says, but it also gently reduces light to induce the restful sleep you need.