Beauty Sleep is a mystical idea we all have heard before, but is it a real thing? This article may change your mind about staying up late.
When we think about beauty sleep, the first thing that comes to mind is how long we are sleeping — “I HAVE TO GET 8 HOURS OR I’LL WAKE UP WITH BAGS UNDER MY EYES!” — when really it’s all about what is happening in our bodies, and for this blog in particular – the skin, that makes the difference!
Before we get into all the good things happening, let’s first talk about boundaries. Boundaries are essential for living a healthy lifestyle. Sticking to healthy boundaries will come in handy the next time you tell your friends that you have to leave trivia at 8pm and cannot stay for another drink! (Believe me, they will all try to guilt you into staying, so be confident!) I normally set my sleep boundaries for weekdays and treat myself to stay up on the weekends.
On average, we should be sleeping seven or more hours every night. An easy way to calculate your bedtime is to take your wake-up time, and subtract eight hours – that’s when it’s lights out! I like to work with the Circadian Rhythm, our body’s natural sleep/wake cycle (concerning skin, it’s our repair/protect cycle), and start getting ready at pm.
The Circadian Rhythms are natural, physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle in response to light and dark and affect almost every living thing including humans, animals, and plants. Below, we will go through what happens to your skin during this cycle.
At night, our skin is going into repair mode; our cell regeneration and DNA repairing are at their highest levels during our sleep.
Between 9pm – 11pm, our body starts to secrete Melatonin, a natural hormone found in your body that responds to darkness and lets you know it’s time to sleep. No matter what time I have to wake up in the morning, I always try to be in bed between these times. Naturally, you will start to wake up without your alarm clock – or maybe even before it! Be careful to avoid blue light from your cell phone and other devices by turning on your blue light filter during this time. Blue light is one of the main disruptions in Melatonin secretion, and will affect how well you fall asleep!
Midnight to 3am. Our body enters into a deep sleep. Our skin gets busy creating new healthy cells at a rate faster than any other time in the cycle. These cells will eventually work their way up to the outermost layer of your skin, so we want to make sure we are giving our body this time to create these healthy cells and apply products that will provide nutrients for new cells and exfoliate the old cells to boost this process.
After diligently creating new healthy cells, between 4am and 6am, our body will then slow down that process resulting in our lowest body temperature in the cycle. It is now that it starts to prepare for our waking hours, focusing on protecting us from the sun.
Melatonin production stops between 6am and 8am, which is when our body is naturally going to wake up. Targeting a wake-up during this time is ideal. When choosing your sleep times with the circadian rhythm, you may find yourself waking up immediately with your alarm or before it goes off!
While we are awake and active between 9am – 9pm, our skin is essentially in protection mode. Our melanin (the pigment that makes the color of our skin, hair, and eyes) is directly affected by sun exposure. When we tan in the sun, it is actually a reaction from our melanin protecting us from the damage being caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is also the time where we have heightened testosterone levels (hello oily/shiny T-zone!), circulation, and body temperature which can cause inflammation, flare-ups, and breakouts.
Now that we all are mini-experts in our sleep/wake cycle and the effects it has on our skin, let’s dive into ingredients that we can apply that will boost our body’s natural cell cycles at night, and help protect and prevent inflammation during the day. Now that we’ve put the sleep in Beauty Sleep, what about the Beauty?
– Retinol is one of the best ingredients to combat acne, wrinkles, and increase collagen and elasticity.
– Glycolic & Lactic Acids. They are essential ingredients at night because they exfoliate dead skin cells and allow new healthy cells to emerge.
– Peptides will boost the skin’s ability to rebuild and repair. They stimulate elastin and collagen production to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and smooth the skin’s overall appearance.
– Kojic Acid targets pigmentation issues caused by the overproduction of melanin, or natural pigment, leading to lighter, brighter, more even skin tone.
– A great addition to your nighttime ritual is to give yourself a massage from neck to forehead. Choose a nourishing oil and use your hands, a gua-sha stone, or a facial roller.
We want to take this time to protect our skin from stress! Environmental stressors, oxidative stress, and free radicals cause premature aging, wrinkles, pigmentation issues, acne, and sagging skin.
– Antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Green Tea, and more can stabilize free radicals.
– Salicylic Acid is great for reducing bacteria and inflammation in the skin and dissolves oil and cleanses congested pores.
– Moisturizer & Hyaluronic Acid are imperative to keeping your skin protected during the day. They help keep our barrier protected from bacteria. They will also keep your skin hydrated so that it does not overly produce excess sebum or oil. Hyaluronic Acid is a great ingredient to look for in your moisturizer.
– Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the number one product for protecting us against wrinkles, pigmentation issues, acne, and more. It should be applied in the morning and then every 2 hours. No matter where you live, the sun is always there and is always producing damaging UV rays. My personal favorite is GlyMed Plus’ SPF 30+ or Black Girl Sunscreen.
– A great addition to your morning ritual is a vibrating facial roller or massage device. These de-puff the under eyes and brow area.
Find more tips and tricks to curate your at-home skincare ritual Here.