Sleep hygiene and skin health are closely related, as the quality and duration of our sleep can have a significant impact on the appearance and health of our skin. Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and practices that promote quality sleep, and can include factors such as our sleep environment, bedtime routine, and daytime habits. In this article, we will explore 10 ways that sleep hygiene can improve our skin health.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause inflammation and damage to our skin.
- Stick to a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to more restful sleep and better skin health. During delta sleep, our body releases two important hormones: melatonin and DHEA, the “Youth Hormone.” Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and slows down the ageing process. DHEA is a hormone that has been shown to improve immunity, reduce stress levels, and increase longevity.
- Create a relaxing bedtime ritual: Taking a warm magnesium chloride bath, reading a book, diffuse essential oils, light natural, relaxing candles, warm a soothing heat pack, or practicing meditation or yoga can help calm our mind and prepare our body for sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime: Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with our sleep quality, leading to less restful sleep and potential gut health and skin damage.
- Keep our sleep environment clean, cool, dark, and quiet: A comfortable sleep environment can help us fall asleep faster, breathe easier and stay asleep longer, leading to better skin health. Use an air purifier and change bed linen regularly, especially acne patients and any inflammatory skin conditions.
- Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows and natural fabrics: Our mattress and pillows should support our body and provide adequate comfort, allowing us to get the restful sleep we need. Some of the most common skin-friendly fabrics for bedding, sleep wear and eye masks are cotton, linen, cashmere, silk and hemp. Any natural fibre that has good conductive and wicking properties are good for people who have different skin conditions.
- Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with our body’s natural sleep cycle, leading to disrupted sleep and potential skin damage
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce stress levels and promote better sleep, leading to healthier skin.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: Eating a diet rich in colourful fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can provide our skin with the nutrients it needs to maintain its health and appearance.
- Manage stress levels: High levels of stress can lead to increased inflammation and damage to the skin, so it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through meditation, nature walks, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Practicing good sleep hygiene can have a significant impact on our skin health. By following these 10 tips, we can improve the quality and duration of our sleep, leading to healthier, more radiant skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that humans typically shed between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells daily, and during at least seven hours of sleep, many of those cells end up on our bedding. Additionally, sweat, oils, drool, dust mites and potential allergens from our hair or pets can also accumulate on pillowcases. While this may not significantly impact our health, it can lead to skin irritation, breakouts, and even infections caused by microorganisms like bacteria and fungus.
However, according to Thomas A. Russo, M.D., an expert in infectious disease, fabrics like pillowcases and sheets are generally not ideal for microorganisms to grow and propagate effectively. While highly contagious skin infections like staph or ringworm can theoretically transmit through bedding, it is difficult to determine if transmission occurred through contact with the linens or skin-to-skin contact between individuals living together.
Although the risk of spreading infectious bugs through bedding is low, the build-up of microbes on pillowcases can disrupt the delicate balance of microbes on our skin’s surface, known as the microbiome. This disruption can cause breakouts for those with acne-prone skin and potentially lead to eczema flare-ups.