March 13th, 2015

How sleep affects your skin

How sleep affects your skin? As March 2015 is officially National Bed Month we spoke to Lisa Artis, spokesperson for The Sleep Council to find out how sleep affects your health and skin.


So how much sleep should we actually be getting?

“There is no ‘magic number’ for sleep. While everyone’s requirements are different (some of us cope far better on less than others), there is a fairly general consensus that around seven to eight hours is the norm for the average adult.  If you're getting a little less, there's probably no need to lose sleep over it, but a lot less is a problem.”

However, despite there being clear health and skincare risks link to lack of sleep, as a nation we are still missing out on beneficial hours. The Sleep Council have found that a third of the population (33%) now get by on five to six hours sleep a night, compared to 27% in 2010 and the majority of people (70%) sleep for seven hours or less.

So what are the real risks we are putting ourselves through?

‘”Regularly getting less than six hours a night is a no-go. There is research out there that has found that those who frequently get fewer than six hours a night are at significantly increased risk of stroke and heart disease.  Further evidence suggests that not sleeping enough may ramp up the ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, releasing hormones that speed up heart rate and raise blood pressure. Sleep also keeps the brain healthy and flushes brain debris, fending off Alzheimer’s. A lack of sleep has an impact on our attention and concentration levels and also our memory.”

As well as the health risks, not enough sleep can also wreak havoc with our skin and can actually accelerate the skin ageing process.  “Research found that those with less rest had more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and slacker, less elastic skin. And that’s before you even think about eye bags and under eye shadows.”

It’s very clear to see when people have had a good nights sleep- they’re happier, more energised and also look better too, with brighter eyes and skin. When talking to Lisa, she made very a interesting point, which we’re sure many of us will agree with - so many people go to huge amounts of time and expense to eat well and exercise, but without a good night’s sleep all that effort will be in vain. The key to looking and feeling good is simply sleep!


So to ensure that we fully embrace National Bed Month, we have listed five easy steps to a better nights sleep, which are all recommended by The Sleep Council!

how sleep affects your skin

1.    Your bedroom

Think about the lighting in your bedroom. Our sleep is regulated by our exposure to light and darkness, for example the darker the room the more our body believes it is night time and so time for sleep. 

Ventilation is also very important when it comes to sleep. Your temperature naturally drops as you drift off to sleep so it’s important to keep your room cool. Try and keep a balance, if it’s too cold and you have the heating on, why not place a dehumidifier in your room.  This will help to regulate air in the room, thus keeping it balanced. Alternatively a bowl of water by the side of your radiator is just as effective.  Having a window slightly ajar to circulate air around the room will also help.


2.    Limit technology

Technologies, such as watching the TV, browsing the Internet or constantly checking emails/texts on your mobile all have a negative impact on your sleep.  Exposure to technology doesn’t allow your brain time to switch off from work/interaction mode so try and reduce time spent using these technologies before bed.


3.    Diet

While you might think the odd glass of wine may help you to drift off to sleep, alcohol and caffeine can actually have a very disruptive affect on your sleep, especially because they are stimulants.   Try drinking a hot milky drink before bedtime, or something soothing like chamomile tea to help you feel relaxed.

how to get better sleep

4.    Exercise

Moderate exercise on a daily basis can help relieve some of the tension that builds up over the day.  However, having said that, try not to do vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime as it may keep you awake!


5.    Stress less

With everyone leading busy lifestyles, it’s easy to let things get on top of us, causing us to become stressed and worried – two of the main things that can keep you from drifting off. Take some time to wind down before going to bed, this could be something you enjoy doing such as reading a book or listening to soothing music.

Some people find practicing relaxation techniques just before bed really helps.  Try listening to a meditation CD just before climbing into bed to relax your mind.


The Sleep Council has been established since 1995 and it aims to:

Raise awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep to health and wellbeing.

Provide helpful advice and tips on how to improve sleep quality.

Provide helpful advice on choosing the right bed for optimum sleeping comfort.

13 / 03 / 2015

This is What Skin Needs Natural Skincare blog. Here we share tips for skincare, skin conditions and health.