Sleeping Beauty

Feel better and look better with the right amount of sleep

You faithfully apply sunscreen and moisturizers, avoid tobacco products and drink plenty of water to help keep your skin looking youthful as you age. But a good night’s sleep should be added to that daily regimen, says Brenda Powell, MD, a physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.“To be fully rested, you should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night,” recommends Dr. Powell.

As we age, lack of sleep affects us more deeply and shows more prominently on our faces – lackluster complexions, dark circles, fine lines and, in more extreme cases, rashes and eczema. “During sleep, an increase of cortisol and insulin help collagen production, which improves skin support, elasticity and hydration,” says Dr. Powell.

Sleep also has a restorative effect on skin. Growth hormones peak during sleep, initiating tissue and cell repair. A good night’s sleep may also increase the benefits of skin care products and treatments.

“Also,” Dr. Powell says, “too little sleep can also stress the immune system. This can cause generalized inflammation, which can lead to acne, poor collagen support and rashes. In addition to keeping skin healthy, a strong immune system helps to prevent skin cancer and slow visible signs of aging.”

Dr. Powell also shares some tips for optimum sleep positions for preventing lines and creases while resting. The best sleep position is on your back, she says. If you’re a committed side sleeper, she suggests using a satin pillowcase to avoid waking up with creases in your skin.

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