Does Lack of Sleep Cause Acne? – How Beauty Sleep Can Save Your Skin
You are busy with finding remedies, creams, lotions to put on your face and solve the acne once for all. However, did you know that lifestyle habits can and will affect your face? Sleep is one of them.
Does lack of sleep cause acne? How can it do that?
Sleep can affect your whole body functions and it can leave marks on your skin. We’re not talking only about dark circle under your eyes, but about acne, too.
If you don’t know that lack of sleep can cause acne, you will keep having breakouts and you will not be able to address the problem that is laying right on your pillow.
Let’s have a pillow talk and learn why sleep is important for your skin’s health, why the lack of sleep is critical for your acne, how it affects your skin, and how to sleep safe and sound starting tonight for a better complexion. They don’t call it a “beauty sleep” for nothing.
How Important Is Sleep for Your Body?
Sleep is as important as food or air. Did you know that you can die because of sleep deprivation? That important sleep is!
We feel tired and fall asleep because your body needs to shut down and go into the Land of Dreams. It goes into the rest mode. It is programmed to do so.
Sleep is the “reset button” of your body. During sleep, all your bodily functions are slowed down to the minimum, while it turns on the deep regeneration process.
Daytime is an energy consuming time for your body: moving, walking, running, training, digesting, thinking, processing, everything you do consumes energy. Even when you sit on the couch and do nothing your body still produces and consumes energy. Your body is busy producing this needed energy.
Nighttime is a low energy producing and consuming. Shhhh… your body rests and regenerates.
The equation is simple: if you don’t sleep, your body can’t regenerate, repair, and restore itself properly. You have low energy levels, you feel tired and exhausted, can’t think or feel normally, you’re irritated and confused, among many other things.
What’s Your Skin Doing While Your Sleep?
During sleep, your body and skin switch from protection mode to regeneration mode. In the morning, your skin looks fresher, pure, brighter, softer, glowing.
Sleep decreases cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increases melatonin levels (sleep hormone). Great, as melatonin is an amazing natural antioxidant.
Sleep increases the growth hormone levels that repair and regenerate, stimulate collagen production (which provides elasticity and firmness to the skin).
How Does Lack of Sleep Cause Acne?
Short-term lack of sleep like staying up all night for a pillow talk with a friend or girlfriend, studying all night before an exam, watching a late night show, movie or game is not that problematic. You’re just tired and you are not 100% productive the next day. No biggie.
However, inflammation, toxins, stress, hacked immune system, tired adrenal glands, hormonal chaos are the effects of chronic insomnia or long-term bad sleep on your body. Maybe you already know that all these trigger… acne.
Sleep is like a faithful spouse that comes to you every night, and when your spouse doesn’t show up one or more nights in your bedroom, oh, well, you know it’s trouble.
The Stress Factor
Oh, stress… Stress is a sneaky, trouble-making, messy creature. It creeps inside your body, little by little, without you even noticing it. And when you finally realize it, it has already done its messy job inside you and on your face. You got acne.
Our modern life has many challenges for us: pressure at work, working overtime, late nights playing games at home, sleepless nights with a newborn, partying too hard and too many nights in a row. Everything is taking a toll on us, our health, and our skin.
But how can lack of sleep induced stress trigger acne? Hmm, let’s see.
The Cortisol Bomb
First of all, stress increases cortisol levels in adrenal glands. High cortisol levels suppress the immune system.
During stress-free periods (peace and harmony) in your body, cortisol is a nice, handy, helpful fellow who works on cool things like transforming proteins into energy (good job!) and stopping inflammation (well done!).
However, during stressful times it goes rogue and reckless and starts a rough, tough war in your body. Cortisol turns into a Terminator that tears your body down, using a handful of two-blade weapons. Cortisol
- weakens your immunity system
- increases blood sugar levels
- lowers your sex drive and sexual functions
- creates massive chaos with your hormones, including your growth hormone
- shakes up your menstrual cycle
- overstimulates the sebum production
- slows down cell healing and regeneration, including skin cell
- cools down metabolism
- turns your digestion upside down
- attacks your muscles and bones
What a mess!
Don’t Mess with Your Hormones
Let’s take one disaster that happens under your skin during the night and that will show on your face in the morning: overproduction of sebum. Too much oil (even if it’s natural and skin-produced) it’s not good: it clogs the pores, triggers inflammation, swelling, redness, and infection. That means acne!
Sleep deprivation has negative consequences on your skin, including acne, due to hormonal imbalance and a weakened immune system.
Don’t mess with stress, it’s showing on your face!
The Stimulants Factor
Many people trade sleep for stimulants like caffeine, energy drinks, chocolate, alcohol, etc. This increased consumption of stimulants has an impact on cortisol levels, the physiological marker of the stress response.
Replacing sleep with many large cups of coffee or energy drinks will only increase the negative effects of stress on your skin. To this, add the negative effects of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol on your skin. Acne is written all over your face, unfortunately.
The Skin Dehydration Factor
Lack of sleep is a sucker for your skin. This water vampire sucks the moisture out of your skin. The results? A dehydrated, red, inflamed skin.
Add a decrease in your skin’s pH levels and you can say goodbye to your smooth skin. Breakouts time. Bummer!
The Skin Nutrition Factor
Your skin takes its nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the underground capillaries. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin doesn’t get enough nutrients. The result? A scorched, dull, damaged skin that suffers, and suffers that much that it can’t hold back and breaks out. Yes, that’s it, pimples.
The Insulin Factor
What does insulin have to do with acne? Let’s see…
Stress spikes your insulin levels like crazy. When this happens, androgen hormones are produced in excess, which triggers a sebum overproduction. Your face becomes oily, and when this happens, you know what comes next: the excess sebum clogs your pores and there is nothing you can do now. Acne show time!
The Food Factor
You probably wonder what lack of sleep has to do with food? Well, a lot. Actually, the lack of sleep messes up with biochemical in your body such as ghrelin (makes you feel hungry) and leptin (makes you feel satiated).
What happens? It makes you feel hungry and insatiate, so you grab snacks all day long. To make things even worse, you don’t crave for apples or oranges (go figure it), but for high sugar and carbohydrates foods and junk food like chocolate, pizza, burgers, fries, chips, and cookies.
Well, of course, your waistline is in dangers, but so is your blood sugar level. High glucose levels trigger more insulin, and that means (as you read above) more oil and then, bam! acne.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Well, it depends on your age: teenagers need 9 to 12 hours of good sleep to regenerate, while adults 7 to 9 hours.
However, it’s not only about quantity, but the quality of sleep. You need uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. Also, you need a good NIGHT sleep. Best hours to sleep are 22 – 6.
The “happy hours” of sleep are around 22-1 when melatonin (sleep hormone) forms.
How to Have Good Quality Deep Sleep Starting Tonight For a Happy Skin?
- Sleep during the night. This is the first and best sleep advice.
- Stop eating 2 hours before going to bed. Otherwise, your body will be busy digesting, and not regenerating.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants in the evening.
- Don’t use electronic devices (laptop, tablet, TV, monitor, smartphone) 1-2 hours before sleeping. The blue light of these devices overstimulates your brain and reduces the melatonin production.
- Spend time in nature and in the sun during the day.
- Watch comedies and funny movies to laugh, de-stress, and relax during the day to have a good sleep during the night.
- Meditate before bedtime. Meditation slows down your body functions, calms your mind, and provides relaxation and peace. That’s all you need for a deep regenerating sleep.
- Use essential oils, such as lavender and valerian in diffusers to induce relaxation and good sleep. Aromatherapy can help.
- Play ambiental, relaxing music in the background while you sleep, to help you go into sleeping mode.
- Sleep in total darkness, to facilitate a deep sleep and melatonin production.