There’s a very good reason for the saying "get your beauty sleep." In fact, we can give you four reasons in the form of physical signs of sleep deprivation visible just by looking at you.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says nearly 34% of Americans sleep less than seven hours a day, and almost 40% have fallen asleep during the day due to lack of sleep. Besides the harm that sleep deprivation does to your physical health that is not so obvious (related to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression), the physical signs can be evident on your face in more ways than you realize.
Here’s what sleep deprivation literally looks like:
We’ve all been there: Didn’t sleep well last night (or the last few nights) and now we’re looking in the mirror at the physical signs of sleep deprivation. Most of us focus on the eyes as the primary evidence of not getting a good night’s sleep – a little duller than usual, droopy and maybe bags or dark circles. However, signs of sleep deprivation can be seen in more than the eyes.
The stress hormone cortisol can do a number on your skin health if not held in check. When you sleep, cortisol levels in your body naturally decrease and allow your skin to regenerate and form its own protection. This is just one part of the healing process that the body undergoes each night when you sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol levels stay elevated and could cause acne breakouts.
Dermatologists say high levels of cortisol also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastic tissue. Lack of sleep also prevents the body from producing human growth hormone (HGH) which is needed to stimulate cell production. The dermatological effects are that the skin is not as thick, loses elasticity (giving way to lines and wrinkles) and overall premature aging takes over.
Here’s a little-known and startling fact: Studies show that sleep deprived people are at almost the same risk for gum disease as smokers. Sleep deprivation causes the body to feel nervous – similar to the effects of nicotine – and causes increased inflammation throughout the body, including the gums. That causes the gums to be tender or bleed and can lead to shifting teeth and eventual tooth loss.
Hair loss studies show that 80% of men and 40% of women experience hair loss. Consider that with the CDC numbers on how many of us are not getting enough sleep and you might start to see a connection between sleep deprivation and hair loss.
Lack of sleep means higher stress on the body, which is thought to be directly linked to scalp tension and hair loss. Remember HGH in our discussion about skin? Well, it’s believed that HGH production has a positive effect on hair health. Falling short on sleep hours could also mean falling hair follicles.
Quality sleep boosts your immune system. When the body doesn’t get enough time to repair and regenerate (which occur during sleep), its ability to produce and balance important hormones for physical health is disrupted, compromising our natural defenses. Granted, while lots of people aren’t sleep deprived by choice, there are those who don’t think they need as much sleep and form bad sleep habits that lead to sleep deprivation.
If you know someone in the latter group, share this article and remind them they need their beauty sleep.