beauty

The 5 commandments of improving your skin while you sleep.

We do SO much stuff in the morning to make our skin look fresh, glowing and, like, alive. And if you're anything like us, your innocent bathroom cupboard is cluttered with mounds of beauty products - brightening serums, under eye treatments, dewy foundation and the like.

We slap it all on in the space of five minutes and walk out the door, hoping we look all healthy and glowy and like we actually drink enough water (HA!).

Watch: Not bothered reading this whole darn thing? That's okay. It only hurts a little. Here's a video on how to improve your skin while sleeping, instead. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia

But what if science told you that just having a solid snooze could help improve your skin? 

Well, it turns out science did tell you this...like, a bunch of times. But you might've had your earphones in or something. Cause there's quite a bit of research and science behind the concept of beauty sleep. It's a very real thing that you probably thought was a very fake thing. Awks!

There's actually a LOT of stuff happening to your skin while you sleep. This is when your body tries to repair and regenerate itself, and reverse all the radical damage it has to put up with during the day from, you know, the world.

Sleep reduces cortisol (the pesky stress hormone we all hate), which is responsible for things like thinning skin and discolouration. Sleep also increases melatonin (the sleep hormone), which acts like an antioxidant to fight the signs of ageing, like dark spots and fine lines.

It can also increase the efficacy of collagen-producing cells, which are responsible for delicious things like skin tightness and elasticity.

Sick of those undereye bags? Listen to this episode of You Beauty, where we talk about the product that makes eye bags disappear. Leigh actually thinks it could be her best spendy of all time. No biggie. Post continues below btw.

If you're regularly clocking up some impressive hours of sleep and wondering why your skin isn't looking 11/10, it's important to know that it's not just how long you sleep, it's how well you sleep. 

So, we've asked therapeutic skin coach Sarah Mitchell from Glow Skin Studio for her top tips to amp up your nighttime skin recovery.

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1. Get a full night of sleep.

How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Mitchell said "You should aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night."

Why? Not only will you feel really freaking tired the next day, but apparently a lack of sleep will make your skin look tired and damaged way more than you probably ever imagined.

"Research even says that one night of poor sleep can cause: hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, darker under eye circles, paler skin, more wrinkles and fine lines, droopy corners of the mouth, skin that ages faster and skin that doesn’t recover as well from environmental stressors like sun exposure," said Mitchell.

Sheesh. That's a lot of bad stuff for one night of poor sleep, no? Brutal.

2. Sleep on your back.

We know, we know. This isn't exactly an easy thing to just ~do~. 

If you're used to sleeping on your stomach or side, suddenly sleeping on your back can feel really uncomfortable. And you'll probably involuntary flip over to your preferred position during the night anyway, right? 

But, changing your sleeping position is something you can re-learn over time. 

To help, try using some pillows (there's contoured one's out there that promote back-sleeping) that support your head and prevent you from flipping over to your stomach or sides.

Image: Giphy 

"It makes sense that the position your face is in while you sleep (for one-third of your day!) matters to your skin," said Mitchell.

Y'see, sleeping on your stomach or lying on your side means there's constant pressure on your delicate little face. 

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"Sleeping on a rough cotton surface can irritate your skin and compress your face for long hours at a time, resulting in wrinkles," adds Mitchell.

"While most wrinkles are caused by the expressions we make while we’re awake, wrinkles on the face and chest can result from sleeping on our stomachs or sides."

If you just can't get comfy with the whole sleeping on your back thing, upgrade your cotton pillowcase to a satin or silk pillowcase - there will be way less traction on your face.

3. Change your pillowcase regularly.

On the topic of pillowcases, make sure you're changing yours often. Because it's not just something you should do just because your mum told you to (but also this, because listen to your mum), but it can have a direct impact on your skin. 

That's because your pillowcase absorbs your skin's oils, your sweat and saliva, not to mention things like leftover conditioner and scalp oils. All this kind of stuff can clog your pores over time and cause your skin to freak out (read: pimples).

Dermatologists recommend changing your pillowcase at least once a week - even more if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 

Laundry sucks, we know. But, c'mon - it takes like five minutes to change them. Plus, there's something oddly satisfying about a crisp, clean pillowcase.

4. Wash your face.

You already do this one though, right? RIGHT?

Not cleansing your face at night not only causes a whole heap of havoc with your skin (redness, irritation, dryness - just to name a few), but it can also age your skin. And it's just such a freaking waste if you're using all of those spendy serums and creams and they can't even do their job properly.

Why wouldn't you want to wash off all that dirt and grime from the day, anyway? Especially if you've been wearing a face full of makeup. 

Don't even try telling us you don't remove your makeup.

Image: Giphy 

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"You don’t want to give the day’s pore-clogging irritants the chance to sink in and do damage overnight," said Mitchell. 

Otherwise you'll end up being the proud owner of larger, more visible pores (you can't shrink these once they're stretched btw), deep lines and wrinkles, acute dryness, irritated puffy eyes, red itchy rashes leading to rosacea, acne outbreaks, infections and inflammation.

So, yeah - wash your face. Even if you're drunk (face wipes!). Even if you wake up at a 'friend's' house (use whatever you can find in the cupboard!).

5. Elevate your head.

According to Mitchell, something as simple as elevating your head at night can help reduce puffiness under the eyes. Yep - we wish we knew this, like, yesterday.

"Elevating your head can help reduce bags and circles under your eyes, by improving blood flow and preventing blood from pooling."

Try using two pillows to keep your head elevated above your heart to avoid waking up with puffy eyes.

Feature image: Getty

Do you have any tips to share? We wanna hear them! Pop your comments below.

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