Is sleep the secret to younger-looking skin?
One way to fight the signs of aging: get good sleep, a new US study finds. (stefanolunardi/shutterstock.com)
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:21PM EDT
Want better, younger looking skin? Get better sleep, a new study finds. In a small study at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, poor sleepers were found "to show increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors," such as ultraviolet radiation, the researchers said. The study, presented at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, was commissioned by Estée Lauder.
"While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown," said head researcher Dr. Elma Baron.
The study involved 60 women between the ages of 30 and 49, with half of participants falling into the poor quality sleep category. The classification was made on the basis of average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality.
Poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. The researchers found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from stressors to the skin, such as sunburns.
Self perception of attractiveness was also significantly better among subjects who slept well compared to those who didn't.
If you think you fall in the poor sleeper category, WebMD and the Mayo Clinic offer the following tips to boost your zzzs: Stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Eat well, and avoid caffeine in the evenings or overeating before bedtime. Also try sleep accessories, such as a white noise machine or ear plugs, to block out distractions. Exercise during the day, which can aid sleep, and try to clear your mind from too much clutter before bedtime by writing in a journal beforehand, for example. Though you may think chronic sleep deprivation is just stress-related, it could also be caused by an underlying medical problem like sleep apnea, so it's a good idea to talk to your doctor.