What Is Beauty Sleep? The Science-Backed Benefits

June 23, 2020 | Casper Editorial Team

Getting your “beauty sleep” may feel like an old cliché, but there is actually some truth behind it. Beauty sleep is very real and it refers to how our skin and body begins to heal itself from the day.
When we enter deep sleep, our body enters recovery mode and produces growth hormones. These growth hormones create new cells that help heal our skin from any damage done during the day.
However, the benefits of beauty sleep go beyond your epidermis. Read on to learn more about what beauty sleep is, the cost of a bad night’s sleep, and the many benefits that come with catching up on your zzz’s.

How Much Beauty Sleep Do You Need?

So, how many hours of beauty sleep do you need to see its effects? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you’re getting less than six, you will likely notice the impact on more than just your mood.

How Poor Sleep Can Affect Appearance

Lack of sleep has become a worldwide problem. While the effects of sleep deprivation on weight, mental health, and immune deficiency are well-known, the effects of insufficient sleep on skin and beauty are less understood.
Have you ever woken up from a bad night’s sleep and noticed your skin may be looking blotchy or pale? Our skin uses sleep to heal itself and when we don’t get enough of it, you’ll see the effects. Below are some ways a bad night’s sleep can affect your appearance.
A woman looks at her reflection in the mirror and frowns. Illustration
Attractiveness: One study found that sleep deprivation related to decreased attractiveness and health. Participants rated photographs of people who were sleep deprived. The results found that participants were less likely to want to socialize with those that looked tired as they were perceived as less attractive and less healthy.
Aging: Another study looked at the effects of sleep quality on skin aging. It found that poor sleep quality accelerated intrinsic aging. This includes fine lines, reduced elasticity of the skin, and uneven pigmentation. A lack of sleep also hinders the skin’s ability to recover from sun exposure — resulting in more wrinkles.
Self-Esteem: The same Case Western Reserve University study found that those who suffered from poor sleep on a regular basis were more dissatisfied with their physical appearance than good sleepers. When you wake up from a full night’s rest, you are more likely to feel better about yourself than someone who slept for only two hours.
Skin: Sleep deprivation can cause stress, which can impair collagen quality and lead to breakouts. When you have a poor night’s sleep, you’re more likely to wake up with a dull, uneven skin tone and more breakouts.

7 Benefits of Beauty Sleep (According to Science)

Now that you know the impact of a bad night’s sleep, let’s go over some of the positives of getting your beauty rest. Here are seven benefits of catching up on your zzz’s.

1. Fewer Wrinkles

A woman with wrinkles smiles in the mirror. Illustration
If your seven-step skincare routine isn’t quite doing the trick, more sleep could be the answer. When you sleep, blood flow to the epidermis increases. This is when your skin begins to rebuild and produce new collagen. This is a part of the repair process that prevents sagging, aging, and wrinkles. The more collagen your skin produces during sleep, the less likely you are to wrinkle.
Beauty Boost: Consider purchasing a memory foam pillow. The flexibility of the foam contours to your face and won’t compress your skin as much.

2. De-Puffed Eyes

A woman frowns with one eye puffy and one eye normal-sized. Illustration
Dark circles and puffy under eyes can feel impossible to get rid of. If you’ve exhausted all the creams on the market without any results, take a closer look at your sleep habits. Are you getting the recommended amount of sleep each night? Those who suffer from insufficient sleep often wake up with swollen eyes and dark circles. Getting your beauty sleep can prevent this, resulting in you waking up with bright and glowing eyes.
Beauty Boost: Try to sleep on your back with a few pillows under your head. This elevation will improve blood flow and help prevent blood from pooling under your eyes.

3. Easier Weight Loss

A person smiles while measuring their waist. Illustration
One study found that when sleep was restricted from participants, they reported having higher levels of ghrelin. Ghrelin — also known as the “hunger hormone” — is a hormone that stimulates appetite, promotes fat storage, and can cause you to eat more. Sleep is an important regulator of your metabolism and body weight and poor sleep can inhibit fat loss, making it harder for you to lose weight. If you’ve been hitting the gym and not seeing the desired results, check in with your sleep first. Your lack of sleep could be sabotaging your weight loss journey.
Beauty Boost: Eat light and healthy before bed. Eating heavy meals before bed can encourage weight gain. Stick to healthy foods that help you sleep, such as bananas and almonds.

4. Healthier Skin

A woman smiles while the skin on her face sparkles. Illustration
Poor sleep is directly correlated with reduced skin health. Your skin uses the time during sleep to heal itself from the environmental stressors it was exposed to during the day. Not enough sleep can prevent your skin from fully healing from sun damage and can increase the severity of existing skin conditions. However, the good news is your skin can bounce back pretty quickly with a few consecutive nights of good sleep. Proper sleep also encourages healthy blood flow to the skin, resulting in a more even skin tone when you wake up.
Beauty Boost: Try to drink eight ounces of water eight times a day (plus get eight hours of sleep!). This will help offset the hydration you lose during sleep and promote healthier skin.

5. Fewer Breakouts

A woman smiled in the mirror. Illustration
From hormonal acne to stress pimples, it can be hard to feel comfortable in your own skin. Stress and lack of sleep go hand in hand. Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones and a poor hormonal balance, which can lead to breakouts. Getting the seven to nine hours of beauty sleep your body needs can result in you waking up stress-free with fewer breakouts.
Beauty Boost: Clean your pillowcase at least once a week to rid it of any bacteria and lingering makeup.

6. Happier Mood

A woman smiles with her hands behind her head. Illustration
Lack of sleep changes your mood from waking up happy and energized, to tired and groggy. Your day all of a sudden seems harder and the tasks on your plate can feel impossible to complete. Loss of sleep can also affect your social interactions and insomnia makes you 10 times more likely to have clinical depression. It’s safe to say that the better you sleep, the happier you’ll be.
Beauty Boost: Practice yoga before bed to relax and wind down after a long day.

7. Increased Self-Esteem

A person blows a kiss into the mirror. Illustration
Studies have shown that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with lower satisfaction of appearance. Good sleepers reported having a significantly better perception of their appearance and physical attractiveness compared to those who slept poorly. How you feel about yourself correlates with your appearance and confidence. When you sleep well, you feel good about yourself and are likely to take better care of yourself.
Beauty Boost: Try getting at least 20–30 minutes of physical activity every day. This will not only decrease the number of times you wake up during the night, but it will also help boost your self-esteem in the long run.

How to Get More Beauty Sleep: 8 Tips

Falling asleep doesn’t come naturally to everyone; many struggle to get a full night’s rest on a regular basis. If you’re in need of some extra beauty sleep, practice some of the tips below and you’ll be waking up with glowing skin in no time.

  1. Create a relaxing bedtime routine: If you struggle to wind down before bed, create a soothing bedtime routine to help you relax. Consider jotting down your thoughts in a journal or shutting off your phone an hour before bed to help relieve any anxieties that may be keeping you from sleep.
  2. Wash your face before bed: Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Make sure to wash your face before bed to remove any toxins and makeup from the day.
  3. Clean sheets once a week: Similar to how you should wash your pillowcase once a week, the same thing goes for bedding. Cleaning your sheets often will help remove any bacteria that could be causing acne.
  4. Eat hydrating foods: While chugging a pint of water before bed can result in disturbed sleep, it’s still a good idea to hydrate as much as possible before you hit the hay. Instead of drinking water, consider eating it. Foods such as veggies and fruits are packed with water and won’t have you rushing to the restroom in the middle of the night.
  5. Skip salty snacks: Salty snacks close to bedtime can contribute to under-eye bags and inflammation. Consider healthier foods that help you sleep as opposed to that bag of chips you’ve been craving.
  6. Keep up with skincare: While your skin works hard at night to repair damages from the day, it’s still a good idea to use products before bed that will support the healing process. A solid night cream is a great place to start.
  7. Create a zen sleep environment: You want your bedroom to signal to your body it’s time to go to sleep. Make sure your mattress is comfortable, the temperature in your room is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and all bright lights are turned off.
  8. Rethink that nightcap: Alcohol before bed can cause symptoms of insomnia. Try to avoid alcohol at least four hours before bed and instead stick to a decaf tea or glass of warm milk.

From healthier skin to a happier mood, there are several science-backed benefits of a good night’s sleep. If you’re one of the many that struggle with insomnia or sleep anxiety, don’t worry. Try incorporating some of the tips above into your daily and nightly routine in order to practice better sleep hygiene and catch up on your beauty rest.

Don’t forget, a comfy mattress with cozy bedding goes a long way when it comes to getting a solid night of sleep. Pair that with a snug pillow and you’ll be off to dreamland in no time.