Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.
The term “beauty sleep” may have a bit more truth to it than you thought. In a study from the University of Paris, researchers have found that consecutive nights of sleep restriction (sleeping less than six hours) has a negative impact on the appearance of a person’s skin and face.
Researchers worked with 24 healthy women, ages 30-50, with no history of sleep disorders or sleep-related issues. To participate in the study, the women slept only three hours for two nights in a row.
Prior to the sleep restriction, the women wore actigraphy watches and maintained their regular sleep-wake behavior. Researchers also assessed the participants’ skin to measure the hydration, pH level, color, and other factors. After the two-night sleep restriction, researchers took these measurements again.
According to sleep researchers, this finding highlighted “the importance of sufficient sleep on physiological skin homeostasis and aesthetic appearance.”
By carefully photographing the participants’ faces at the same times each day, researchers also found that the sleep restriction decreased the brightness and saturation of their faces and emphasized dark circles around their eyes.
Skin, like most of our systems, has a 24-hour circadian profile associated with our biological clocks. This study was the first to investigate the impact of poor sleep on skin. This study also sheds light on questions on how a single day is able to produce significant skin alteration.
“When you mention ‘you look sleepy’ to your close friends and family, you probably directly perceive the deleterious impact of poor sleep on their skin and faces,” researchers said.
Sleep restriction is a common complaint. According to the study, the percentage of “short sleepers” (those sleeping less than 6 hours) has increased consistently for more than a decade, affecting, on average, 25-33% of young adults and professionals.
In order to avoid skin issues or sleep debt, consistent sleep-wake times and proper sleep hygiene are ways to maintain a healthy sleep dynamic.