"New research published last fall in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that beauty sleep actually exists."
Hooray! One of my favorite topics and one of my favorite things to do: SLEEP. We’ve all noticed at one time or another how a poor night’s rest can make our eyes look puffy and our face more wrinkly, but does that make the opposite true? When we DO get a good night’s sleep, do we actually look better?
New research published last fall in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine implies that beauty sleep actually exists. University of Michigan sleep researcher Dr. Ronald Chervin teamed up with reconstructive surgeon Dr. Steven Buchman, also from the University of Michigan to measure patients’ faces, before and after undergoing treatment for sleep-apnea. The face measuring device called photogrammetry, can highlight even tiny differences in contours of the face. According to Dr. Buchman “[Photogrammetry] used in this study demonstrates the real relationship between how you look and how you really are doing, from a health perspective.”
The photogrammetry results showed “fewer forehead wrinkles, and less redness over the cheeks and under the eyes, in the post treatment images.” In addition to measuring facial changes with technology, 22 volunteers were asked to rate the images on alertness, youthfulness and attractiveness. “Results of the study show that 68% of the raters characterized the post-treatment images as appearing more alert than before the treatment, while 67% said the images were more attractive, and 64% rated them as more youthful.
It’s no wonder we look better after a good night’s slumber since many healing physiological repairs happen while we’re sleeping. The magical pine cone shaped gland called the pineal gland located in the center of our brain produces melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for helping us to feel sleepy and wakeful respectively and at the appropriate times. In Victoria Stanell’s article, “What’s Your Skin Doing While You Sleep?” she explains that melatonin also “acts like an antioxidant to fight age spots, fine lines and in the worse scenario, skin cancer.” In addition, “A good night’s rest can also increase the efficiency of special growth hormones that repair and regenerate collagen producing cells, which are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and tightness.” Sleep writer Angela Epstein discusses that “during deep sleep, the skin’s metabolic rate speeds up and many of the body’s cell’s show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins. Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for the repair of damage from factors like ultraviolet rays, deep sleep may indeed be beauty sleep.”
Getting a nap in the middle of the day will not substitute these valuable regenerative processes, as the energy used to repair tissue is otherwise occupied during daylight hours. This speaks to the importance of our body’s circadian rhythm, also known as our “body clock.” Our circadian rhythm is a 24 hour cycle that is sensitive to daylight and temperature and regulates many physiological actions such as digestion and again, cell renewal.
All of the research in this field speaks to the importance of deep sleep versus restless or light sleep; hence the importance of calling it “Beauty Sleep” versus “Beauty Rest.” Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad explains, “While cells repair and rebuild at all stages of sleep, the majority of cell turnover and regeneration occurs during deep REM sleep.”
As Cheryl Richardson put so simply in our December Blog, “When you go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, you support your body’s adrenal system by keeping your hormones stable and balanced.” Keeping a regular routine around sleeping and waking can be supported by bedtime rituals. Vapour founder Krysia Boinis has great suggestions for a routine that will support a deep Beauty Sleep:
• Create the ideal sleeping space that is quiet, dark and cool
• Stop using digital media 1 hour before bedtime
• If you use caffeine stop ingesting it 4 hours before bedtime
• Relax before bed with a ritual like: reading, a hot bath or a cup of herbal tea
Krysia agrees that keeping a regular sleep schedule is of utmost importance, although she admits she struggles with it. In addition to creating optimal circumstances before sleep, what happens if you do wake up in the middle of the night is important too. If you get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it’s best to do so with as little light as possible; bright light can interfere with your circadian rhythm. In addition, it’s important not to snack in the middle of the night unless you’re truly hungry, as digestive processes can also keep you awake.
How dreamy: getting a good night’s sleep not only helps you feel better, it helps you look better. Every now and then, however, a poor night’s rest is unavoidable and for those mornings, Vapour comes to the rescue with Stratus 902 Instant Skin Perfector, which reduces the appearance of redness, wrinkles and pores. What a relief. Happy sleeping everybody!