Fend Off Signs of Aging With These 6 Simple Sleep Habits
We all know the importance of having a solid nighttime skin routine. Pre-bedtime is the perfect opportunity to pamper yourself with creams and treatments that are best enjoyed after the sun goes down (talking to you, Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum) or to use those bonus products like masks and peels that you simply don’t have time for in the a.m. But a lot more goes down with your skin even after you top off with a night cream and shut the lights. “During sleep, your body delivers fluids to organs and tissues that need replenishing, while removing excess fluids from other areas. Skimping on sleep also increases levels of inflammation and stress hormones, which can destabilize your immune system, aggravating skin problems like acne, psoriasis, and eczema”, The National Sleep Foundation reports.
So how can you ensure you’re setting your skin up for success every time your head hits the pillow? Our tips on how to sleep for better skin are below.
Get Your Optimal 7-9 HoursWe know you’ve heard it before, but your body really needs a full, good night’s sleep in order to function properly—and that rule applies to your skin, too. Skimping out on sleep means losing those precious hours your skin needs to repair and replenish. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body releases higher levels of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) which triggers inflammation and other skin flare-ups. Trade your Netflix for a paperback, invest in light-blocking curtains, turn your phone on Airplane mode… do whatever you need to do to get some solid rest.
Wash Your Face...Always
No matter how exhausted you are or how late it is: Never go to bed without taking your makeup off first. Between the beauty products, dirt, and bacteria that find their way onto your skin during the day, you want to make sure these pore-cloggers don’t have the opportunity to sink in overnight—which is why it’s so essential to cleanse your skin before nodding off. Think about it: Going to bed with a dirty face means waking up to a bacteria-ridden pillowcase, and since pollution is known to speed up the aging process, taking those two minutes to thoroughly clean your skin is more than worth it.
Consider Switching PositionsWe all have a favored sleeping style, but if you’re hyper-focused on age-prevention, you may want to flip to sleeping on your back. Studies show that sleeping on your stomach or side can lead to an increase in wrinkles due to the facial distortion that can occur while rubbing against a pillow or mattress. If sleeping on your back is super uncomfortable or you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night, consider investing in a speciality pillow (yup, they exist) to help keep your face in place. But please don’t stress it: Getting a good night’s sleep is the most vital for your skin, no matter what position you do it in. And don't forget eye cream, which works overnight to keep the undereye area smooth and fend off signs of aging.
Opt for Silk Pillowcases (and Swap Them Out Regularly)Cotton pillowcases aren’t bad for you, but because cotton naturally wicks away moisture (which as a result, can dehydrate your skin and cause wrinkles) silk may be a better option—particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin. And because silk is a smoother surface than cotton, it can prevent that facial distortion we mentioned earlier since it’s easier for your skin to move throughout the night without any tugging or tension.
On that note: Don’t forget to swap out your pillows and pillowcases to prevent bacteria and dirt from clogging your skin. Wash your pillowcases once a week and your pillows every 6 months (ideally with a fragrance-free soap if you're sensitive) and replace your pillows every 1-2 years, as recommended by Sleep.org.
Stay HydratedFact: Your body loses tons of water while you’re sleeping. While this may be why you reach for the glass of water on your nightstand in the middle of the night, it’s also the reason your skin wakes up feeling parched. Night creams and facial oils (we recommend layering our Rich Moisture Cream and Antioxidant Oil-Serum together) can help prevent dehydration, but if you’re particularly dry or dealing with winter skin, adding a humidifier to the bedroom can prevent additional moisture loss. Of course, drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is also essential for your health in general, just don’t go downing your 8 glasses too close to bedtime. Several bathroom breaks throughout the night mean interrupting the deep shut-eye your body craves.
Choose Your Products Wisely
Should there be a difference between your morning and nighttime routines? Science says yes. Your body runs on an internal clock: During the daytime, your skin is busy defending itself against UV light (like the sun and your computer screen) and producing more oil. Nighttime, on the other hand, is when your skin goes into a deep repair mode—both skin cell turnover and collagen production increase while you’re far away in dreamland. Use this schedule to your advantage by opting for products that target breakouts and oil during the a.m., and focusing on an anti-aging regimen at night.
There are also some ingredients that you’re better off using after dark (like retinol) because the actives can actually break down in sunlight, making them less effective when worn during the day. One of our favorite PM picks, The Shortcut Overnight Facial works wonders all while you're tucked under the covers.
Shop night-friendly products below.
1. Ganceviciene, Ruta, et al. “Skin Anti-Aging Strategies.” Dermato-Endocrinology, Landes Bioscience, 1 July 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/.
2. “How Sleep Improves Your Skin.” Sleep.org, www.sleep.org/articles/how-sleep-improves-your-skin/.
3. Leproult , R, et al. “Sleep Loss Results in an Elevation of Cortisol Levels the Next Evening.” Sleep, 1997, doi:10.1093/sleep/20.10.865.
4. Matsui, Mary S, et al. “Biological Rhythms in the Skin.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, MDPI, 24 May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926335/.
5. “Study Shows Stomach And Side Sleeping Positions Cause Facial Distortion And Wrinkles Over Time.” PR Newswire, 29 June 2018, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/study-shows-stomach-and-side-sleeping-positions-cause-facial-distortion-and-wrinkles-over-time-300303981.html.
6. “Surprising Ways Your Hydration Level Can Help or Hinder Your Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/connection-between-hydration-and-sleep.