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How does poor sleep affect my appearance?

David Pollock
Cosmetology
Having a good night's sleep of seven to eight hours gives your body a chance to rejuvenate itself. With the right amount of sleep, you will wake up looking and feeling younger and more refreshed.

The trouble with running up sleep shortages day after day is that it may not be physically possible to make up the loss. What’s more, when sleep is skimpy, your cortisol levels don’t drop as much as they’re supposed to at night, and growth hormone doesn’t rise as much as it should, undermining muscle strength. You need a daily dose of growth hormone, which gets secreted during deep sleep, to refresh your cells and prepare you for the next day. It not only stimulates cellular growth and reproduction, but it also has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-fat, and anti-cortisol effects—all good things for beauty (not to mention weight loss!).

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery

A century ago, "beauty sleep" originally referred to sleep that started before midnight. Because people who stayed up until late hours often looked haggard. And that's still true today.

But now, we're figuring out the science behind why you need sleep in order to look good. Turns out that people who sleep more, look better. That's because sleep deprivation is a form of stress. And like other stressful conditions like illness, trauma and emotional hardship, sleep deprivation causes your body to make more steroids. And it's those steroids that decrease the formation of collagen, the structural layer of our skin. The decreased collagen causes thinning of the skin and wrinkles. It also weakens the barrier function of the skin, allowing toxins to penetrate, and leading to wounds, infections and even skin cancers. As if that's not enough, sleep deprivation contributes to obesity, affecting your health, as well as your appearance.

So, the appearance of a sleep-deprived person? Besides those dark circles under their eyes, they're wrinkled and overweight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.