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The Truth Behind Beauty Sleep

There are many reasons that you should be getting enough sleep each night. For a long time people have known there is a link between sleep and beauty by simply noticing how obvious it is when someone has not been sleeping well. From puffy, droopy eyes to the dark circles that form beneath them, makeup artists are always teaching tips on how to use their products to look well-rested.

The Proof

Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm published a study in the British Medical Journal linking attractiveness to the amount of sleep a person has. They took 23 healthy adults aged 18 to 31, with no make up, and photographed each after eight hours of sleep. The same adults were then photographed after only five hours of sleep and kept awake for a full 31 hours. All the same lighting and camera settings were used for both photographs.

The photographs were then all shown to, and rated by, 65 untrained observers. The ratings were done in three categories: how healthy, attractive, and tired each individual appeared. The results showed that every category was rated lower in the sleep deprived pictures than the well-rested ones.

One of the “tired photos” showed how one young man's eyes were duller with puffy-looking skin beneath. The scientists believe, though, that the differences and ratings between the two would be more dramatic in person because blink rate and drowsiness are added into the overall look of the individual.

It is hard to say when the effects start though. This study really observed the look of a person after severe sleep deprivation. Axelsson believes that the effects start gradually when a person consistently receives just five or six hours of sleep each not. They simply don’t know how an occasional short night wears on a person.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

An important part of maintaining a healthy weight is getting enough sleep. There are two things that link weight to sleep. The first is that not getting enough sleep can mess with your endocrine regulation, which effects hunger and appetite. If the messages are becoming confused because of drowsiness levels, you are much more likely to eat an increased amount of food to compensate.

The other aspect is that when you are feeling tired you are much less active physically, which results in less calories burned at the end of the day. Serotonin, another hormone in the brain responsible for pleasure levels, is released in smaller amounts with less sleep and physical activity, so the body tries to compensate with sugary foods. Add all of these together and it does not equal a happy waistline.

Sleep and Skin

Overly puffy or saggy skin around the eyes is one of the first signs of sleep deprivation. Dark circles and dull-looking skin also contribute to the overall look of sleeplessness in a person's face. In order for skin to look its best, it must have time to rest.

Mental and physical fatigue cause the facial muscles to tense up, making it more prone to dullness, uneven pigment, a rough texture, and wrinkles. If you suffer from a chronic skin condition like rosacea, you are more likely to have an episode flare up and possibly even stick around longer if you are not getting enough sleep.

Another way your skin takes a hit is through high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone which breaks down the collagen in your skin. Even small sleep disruptions can cause healthy tissue to come under fire from your immune system.

A lack of sleep affects your skin in other ways. For instance, when you don't get enough sleep, your muscles do not receive enough oxygen to function at their best. This includes your heart and arteries which can significantly limit your blood flow. In order for skin to look shiny and rejuvenated, it needs to have an adequate amount of blood being delivered to it.

Your Health Routine

Before going to bed every night, many men and women apply creams, brush their teeth, and even put on sleep masks. Sticking to a routine and going to bed at the same time every night is a great way to get your beauty sleep. When you are well rested, you are much happier, which makes you more beautiful and attractive. For an effective beauty treatment that is cheap, easy, works quickly, and lasts long term, look no further than your pillow.