Turns Out There's Some Truth To The Phrase 'Beauty Sleep'

Can you sleep your way to better skin?


A new study confirms the science behind beauty sleep — that our skin's collagen stores replenish themselves most while we slumber. Photo / Getty Images

The subject of beauty sleep has long been debated, but finally science has confirmed it to be true: a good night’s sleep is the secret to achieving a glowing complexion.

A study published in the medical journal Nature Cell Biology unearthed how the body replenishes its collagen stores while we slumber — more specifically the direct link between the body’s circadian rhythm and the skin’s ability to synthesise collagen.

Believed to be the building blocks of the body, collagen is the protein responsible for providing strength and structure to the bones, muscles, tendons, and of course, skin.

Collagen offers skin its bouncy texture and youthful glow, but as we age, our collagen stores deplete, resulting in dullness and wrinkles.

READ: Overnight Sensation: Dr Ann Shivas Of Sleep Loop 

Lead researchers discovered we have two different types of collagen — a thicker type which is established within the body at 17 years old and remains unchanged we age, and the other a thinner, sacrificial type of collagen which breaks down under environmental stress such as pollution or UV exposure.

Laboratory testing revealed the importance of sleep in regenerating this thinner type of collagen, which repaired itself before fusing with other permanent fibres during times of rest.

It’s a sentiment shared by Lisa Walker, a leading health specialist at BePure, who agrees the term beauty sleep has a number of scientific truths behind it.

“When we have quality deep sleep our body is provided with the opportunity to rest, repair and rejuvenate. It is during these restful hours that our body repairs and regenerates skin cells, produces collagen and enhances healing,” she says.

“Adequate quality sleep also helps to balance our stress and sex hormones, which can increase acne, blemishes and premature signs of ageing when it's out of whack.”

The way in which skin ages is down to a combination of genetics and epigenetics, also known as environmental and lifestyle factors like sleep.

The effects of sleep deprivation on skin are many — and range from an increased production of sebum leading to blemishes or acne, through to an increase in the levels of free radicals in the body which can lead to “inflammaging”.

“Inflammaging is a term used to describe ageing induced by chronic, persistent, underlying inflammation that exhausts the skin's defense system. This weakens skin structure, degrades collagen and elastin production and impairs the skin's barrier function — hello saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles,” Lisa says.

Lisa recommends aiming for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night to improve mental function, metabolism and immunity, not to mention its impact on your appearance.

The best way to calculate your bedtime? “Take your weekday waking time and count back 7-9 hours to find your ideal bedtime. For example, if you need to be up at 5am, your goal is to be in bed asleep between 8 and 10pm,” Lisa says.

She adds that the most optimal window for deep, restorative sleep is between 10pm and midnight — a time during week the body performs most of its rejuvenating processes, including healing and repairing skin.

ESTEE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex 50ml, $198
It’s little wonder this formula has been patented until 2033 — Estee Lauder’s best-selling face serum works with the body’s own natural rhythm of repair and protection to deeply hydrate skin while addressing the visible signs of ageing caused by environmental factors.

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BEPURE Deep Sleep, $79
One of Lisa’s top picks to fall (and stay) asleep? “Taking an herbal supplement that promotes relaxation, reduces stress levels and enhances melatonin production,” she says. BePure’s Deep Sleep contains a powerful blend of sleep-promoting ingredients, including Californian poppy and tart cherry, lavender, chamomile, passionflower and L-carnitine said to help ease you into, well, a deep sleep.

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MINDFUL TEA Anxiety Release 50g, $18
An excellent elixir to sip on before you slumber, this caffeine-free blend sees lemon balm, chamomile, skullcap, passionflower, lavender and red rose combine to soothe the parasympathetic nervous system and alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety.

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ELIZABETH ARDEN Visible Brightening Spot Correcting Night Capsules, 60pk, $169
Elizabeth Arden changed the game 30 years when it introduced its single-dose ceramide capsules — a revolutionary offering at the time. Now, its capsule technology has been reimagined to include five potent brighteners that complement the skin’s repair systems to address the number, size and intensity of dark spots while you snooze.

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BRAVEFACE HeadRest, $45
Filed under the category: “tastes like it works”, BraveFace’s all-natural sleep remedy claims to help you fall and stay asleep, thanks to the addition of passionflower and chamomile to quiet the mind.

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REN Clean Skincare & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray, $40
Having trouble switching off? Spritz your pillow, pyjamas and bed linen with this calming mist — which is brimming with frankincense, hops and lavender, all of which are said to act as natural sedatives and have been used as such since the Middle Ages. Together, they work to relax the mind and relieve anxiety, helping to promote a healthy sleeping pattern.

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VOTARY Antidote Night Oil Lavender And Chamomile, $171
This plant-powered body oil works to restore hydration to dehydrated limbs, while soothing and relaxing the mind for sleep. Passionflower, calendula and sweet almond oil alleviate dryness and lock in moisture, leaving skin supple and smooth, while the scent of lavender, rose and chamomile help you to de-stress and unwind.

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FRANK BODY In Your Dreams Sleep Scrub And Soak, $22
A pre-bed soak is said to work wonders when it comes to easing the mind before you catch some Zzz’s, and this two-in-one body scrub and bath soak contains Epsom salts, magnesium, lavender oil and chamomile to lightly exfoliate dry skin, soothe tired muscles and relieve stress.

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STOCKISTS: BePure from selected health food stores and pharmacies, or online at Bepure.co.nz; BraveFace from Life Pharmacies, The Facialist or online at BraveFace.com; Elizabeth Arden from Farmers or online at Farmers.co.nz, or see Elizabetharden.co.nz; Estee Lauder from selected department stores and pharmacies, or online at Esteelauder.co.nz; Frank Body and REN from Mecca or online at Meccabeauty.co.nz; Mindful Tea from selected independent retailers or online at Mindfultea.co.nz; Votary from Sephora or online at Sephora.nz.

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