The Active Edit

The Impact of Sleep on Skin and Hair

written by: Kristen - Beauty Editorpublished on 16 Aug, 2023

Good things happen when your head hits the pillow each night, and it’s your skin and hair that really reaps the rewards from good quality sleep. Yes, skincare products and hair care products are key for optimal skin and hair health, but research shows that sleep and skin health are linked. Internal and epidermal repair at a cellular level really ramps up whilst you sleep, making your time between the sheets vital. So how does sleep help your skin? Allow me to *sleep* walk you through the do’s and don’ts to ensure these hours of slumber maximise your skin and hair vitality.

The Science Behind Beauty Sleep

Your mind, mood and body needs sleep, it’s simply a non-negotiable. But it’s fascinating how little sleep we can function on. Sleep plays an important role in hair health and skin rejuvenation as this is the precious time when cellular turnover increases, as dead skin cells make way for new healthy cells to surface. Sleep is when your body goes into repair mode, across vital organs, the immune system and the epidermis too. As you rest, blood circulation increases as collagen synthesis intensifies to help counter the effects of premature ageing caused by stress, sun-damage and environmental pollution from the day. This means your skin, including your scalp, benefit from the restorative power of sleep and in turn, your complexion and hair will appear healthier.

The Benefits of Sleep for Skin

Further to understanding what happens at a cellular level when we sleep, it’s also good to know the benefits for your skin are well worth tucking in for. When you stick to regular sleep patterns with 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, your skin functions at an optimal level of repair, revealing enhanced skin clarity and vitality. The increase in collagen and elastin production within the skin helps to repair damage whilst plumping and smoothing to help keep fine lines, wrinkles and under eye puffiness at bay. Sleep is your anti-ageing secret weapon!

On the flipside, it’s important to understand a lack of sleep and skin, and how the signs of premature ageing can become more prominent as a result. 

This includes:

  • Skin dullness
  • Fine lines
  • Under-eye dark circles
  • Puffy eyes
  • Skin paleness
  • Drooping lines around the mouth

The Benefits of Sleep for Hair

Regular, good quality sleep encourages optimal hair growth as this is the time when not only cellular repair takes place, but also important hormonal activity occurs. As you sleep, the human growth hormone is produced and this in turn encourages healthy, strong and resilient hair growth. Sleep deprivation can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and decrease the levels of human growth hormone. When the levels of cortisol are increased in the body you tend not to sleep so well, which can also disrupt the stages of the hair growth cycle within the follicle and even trigger hair breakage or hair loss.

Create the Perfect Environment for a Good Night Sleep 

Creating a nighttime ritual before you head to bed can dramatically improve your skin, hair and overall health. Simple choices such as eating a lighter evening meal, setting a bedtime (and sticking to it), and even indulging in a herbal tea like the WelleCo Sleep Welle Calming Tea can amplify sleep quality. Ensuring your bedroom is a tech-free zone, doesn’t get too hot and remains nice and quiet are all key to making every sleeping hour count. If drifting off to sleep is difficult for you, why not try a relaxing soak with bath oils to unwind and de-stress at least an hour before bed. The essential oils also play a part in soothing you to sleep through the wonders of aromatherapy.

Night Time Skincare Rituals

Part of preparing for a good night’s sleep starts with your skincare routine, and you want to make this unwind as relaxing as possible. After cleansing the face, take your time to mindfully press into the skin your preferred serum and moisturiser, paying attention to those feel good pressure points of the temples and between the brows to release stress. Furthermore, you can elevate your skincare routine by using a face roller and gua sha to massage face oils into the skin. This can help kick start circulation and lymphatic drainage to effectively prepare the skin for all the repair, nutrient delivery and rejuvenation that takes place whilst you are fast asleep. Popping on a sleep mask also helps lock moisture into the skin. This step is all about choosing restorative skincare ingredients like peptides and vitamin C that further enhance the skin’s resilience and support cellular functions, in hand with some gentle TLC.

Best Haircare Health for Better Rest

All those precious hours spent dreaming can be put to good use to help strengthen, smooth and repair your hair. By applying hair treatments before bed, like the Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, your hair benefits from intensified hydration and repair to prevent future breakage, fly-aways and frizz. In addition, choose a silk pillowcase like the Apotecari 100% Pure Mulberry Silk Pillow Slip to keep your hair smooth and tangle-free. The silk fibre is naturally anti-static and antibacterial whilst helping to lock in hair moisture. Sleeping with your hair untied and free from elastics further reduces the chance of friction and damage from natural movement. In combination, you can wake with healthier hair that shines with strength.

Nourish From Within

When life gets busy, the quality of your diet can impact the quality of your sleep, with your skin being the evidence. Choosing a wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in addition lean proteins and omega-3 rich fish helps support healthy cell growth for glowing skin. Steer clear of energy drinks and caffeine before bed as these are known sleep disruptors. Furthermore, sleep supplements make a great choice when you feel your slumber and diet are somewhat lacking. These power-packed and nutrient-concentrated formulas help soothe the mind, nourish the body and lull you into a deep restorative sleep. Remember to keep your body well hydrated with close to three litres of filtered water will also help flush toxins to keep your skin clear. Now put it all together and you're sure to find healthier, stronger and more resilient skin and hair.