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Fight Aging While You Sleep
Written by Liberty Craig   

woman sleeping in bed

Beauty sleep, as you may know, is no mere urban myth. When we get our needed rest each night, we reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and a wan complexion – in other words, the physical indicators of fatigue. But there is more than these temporary changes in appearance behind the science of sleep. The benefits of beauty sleep are many, and by using key techniques to maximize these benefits, you can make the most of nature’s greatest anti-aging regimen.

Get Plenty of Zs

“An unfortunate side effect of sleep debt,” according to Canadian dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett, “is that it ages the skin more rapidly.” The first secret to capitalizing on beauty sleep is to get enough of it. Here are the reasons why.

Our bodies cool during the sleep cycle each night. As a result, the circulatory system increases blood flow to the skin. This results in a more radiant appearance and healthier, more vibrant skin. Even more important is the surge in growth hormone that occurs during periods of deep sleep. These vital hormones help repair and rebuild muscle, bone and skin tissues during sleep. The breakdown of proteins occurs at a slower rate during deep sleep, while cell production is increased. Proteins are the building blocks of cell growth and repair, and it is during your deepest slumber that your body works on damage from stress, sun exposure and other harmful factors.

Your body is also naturally hydrating your skin when you sleep. While you’re dreaming away in your bed, your body perspires more freely than during the daytime. The moisture on your skin helps smooth out wrinkles and provide a natural skincare treatment. Deep sleep also helps combat cortisol production. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can lead to skin conditions such as psoriasis, alopecia and atopic dermatitis.

Put Your Skincare to Bed

“In the morning, it’s about protection; in the evening, it’s about reversal and rejuvenation,” says Neil Sadick, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. There are a number of reasons to focus your skincare efforts on nighttime rather than daytime. While sunscreen and hydrating lotions are great for day wear (i.e., products that protect your skin), skincare solutions containing vitamins C and E and many other ingredients won’t last as long or work as well during the day. Certain ingredients are affected by exposure to sunlight; others work better when the skin’s temperature is elevated, as during sleep. Some restorative ingredients are more effective during the period of increased cell turnover that occurs each night.

If you’re looking to save money on your skincare products or to make them as effective as possible, consider saving your expensive potions for nighttime and sticking to sunscreen and moisturizer during the day.

Support Your Skin

An increasing number of anti-aging skincare devices for overnight use are on the market now. These include facial wraps and heat-activated bandages. One relatively new item that seems to make a great deal of sense is the Wrinkle Prevention Pillow ( The product is designed to prevent face, chest and neck wrinkles while you sleep by supporting the neck and head so your face isn’t squished into the pillow, resulting in those sleep lines that over the years can become permanent. This specialty pillow is also purported to help make your night creams and serums more effective, since they won’t rub off on the pillow. Because of the elevation provided by the pillow, reduced eye puffiness is an additional benefit. Put wrinkles to bed by stepping up your overnight skincare regimen...and remember to get plenty of sleep! Be sure to avoid known sleep disruptors such as alcohol and caffeine just before sleep. Don’t eat, watch television or exercise for at least two to three hours prior to bedtime. If you feel stressed, try some light yoga or meditation. Prepare to wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and beautiful!

Liberty Craig - Editor

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