Woman waking from beauty sleep

You’ve probably heard it since you were a child: “Make sure to get your beauty rest.” But the team at HealthMarkets wondered just how much of the hype is legitimate. Can sleep really make you more attractive? Let’s examine the evidence.

In short, the answer is a resounding yes. Getting plenty of rest will help you look your best, as long as you don’t fall asleep in your makeup. But not all sleep is created equal, so let’s take a look at why beauty rest works and what you should know to maximize the advantages.

Why Beauty Rest Is Effective

Sleepless nights just don’t have the same impact in your 20s as they do later in life. As we get older, failing to get enough sleep becomes more and more apparent. It can show up as under eye circles, fine wrinkles, or a sallow complexion.

A good night’s sleep also has skin-centric advantages. Getting plenty of rest helps your skin stay plump with water, and cortisol and insulin production work to speed up the creation of collagen while you rest. Both water and collagen are necessary for resilient, moisturized skin. Deep sleep is also prime time for your body to make human growth hormone, which helps trigger the repair of damaged cells.

When you don’t get the sleep you need, your immune system also takes a hit. That puts you at increased risk for skin rashes and other maladies, such as eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis.

Your horizontal position during sleep also helps beautify you. Gravity isn’t pulling at your face while you rest, so time snoozing won’t increase skin sagging or wrinkles. Blood flow to your face increases, making your skin radiant and boosting the health of your hair.

All this isn’t to say that there’s no point in trying creams or potions developed to improve your skin—but they’ll work better if you’re in the habit of getting a good night’s rest. Adults 18 to 64 should shoot for seven to nine hours a night, while those over 65 usually thrive with seven to eight hours of shuteye.

Get the Most From Your Beauty Rest

  • Avoid meals before bedtime that will disrupt your sleep with difficult digestion, such as salty or heavy foods.
  • Wash your face before going to bed. Despite what movies or TV may tell you, no one wakes up with a full face of makeup without paying the price.
  • Don’t slack on your nighttime skin-care regimen. Getting plenty of rest will help those products work even better.
  • See a doctor to handle health problems that disrupt restful nights, such as sleep apnea, ragged breathing, or loud snoring.
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