In a Sleep journal published by the Swedish study, aside from the benefit of memory and cognitive performance you get from sleeping, your facial cues and physical appearance are affected as well. 40 female participants are examined to recognize if they are sleep deprived or getting an adequate amount of sleep. There are 10 facial cues and feelings of sadness for the group who had only 5 hours of sleep. The sleep-deprived women appear sadder and have hanging eyelids, redder eyes, puffy eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles or fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth than those who were well-rested. In a US clinic trial at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, they discovered that sleep deprivation could also cause your skin to age faster. 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 40 were divided into 2 groups. Those belonging in the category of poor quality sleep showed skin aging, uneven skin tone, reduced skin elasticity, slow recovery after sun exposure. This only concludes that insufficient sleep accelerates skin aging aside from its correlation with medical problems obesity, diabetes, cancer, and immune deficiency.
Premature skin aging caused by a stress hormone, cortisol
Cortisol is naturally secreted by our adrenal glands and regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in our body. During an attack or acute stress, it enters the fight or flight mode and provides strength to survive and helps the body return to homeostasis. The cortisol hormone is at its highest in the morning when you wake up and decreases during the day. A study published in the Journal of Nursing Research has shown that the imbalance of this hormone is caused by sleep deprivation. Night workers experience diminished sleep quality and result in 1-4 hours of sleep than the average.
Effects of cortisol
According to a New York dermatologist, Dr. Shari Lipner, our poor appearance and signs of premature skin aging could be largely caused by the effects of our stress hormones.
- Break out and blemishes
- Reddening of the eyes
- Puffy or moon face
- Dark eye circles
- Thin Skin and Bruises
- Stretch marks
- Skin pigmentation
- Fat accumulation
Balancing your cortisol hormones
To balance your cortisol hormone levels, you must reduce your stress and increase the amount and quality of sleep you get every night. Here are some ideas to lower your cortisol:
- Regular exercise in your day, but not too close to bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Switch off your devices at least an hour before bedtime
- Don’t skip meals
- Take a magnesium supplement before sleeping to calm the body
- Sleep in total darkness
- Keep the temperature of your bedroom no higher than 21 degrees.