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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



The importance of sleep – sleep deprivation impacts the face

June 19, 2014, 3:20 am

sleep-deprivationDo you frequently wake up with dark circles under your eyes or a sallow appearance? Perhaps you have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, or you stay up until all hours reading, watching television, or working. Whatever your reason for not getting enough sleep, you may have noticed the effects on your appearance, or worse, maybe others have noticed as well.

When we routinely don’t get enough sleep, our faces may appear to have hanging eyelids, swollen eyes, or dark circles under the eyes. Long-term, our skin will appear pale with increasing fine lines and wrinkles, and the corners of our mouths may appear to turn downward. With these signs of sleep deprivation, others may perceive you as being tired, sad, less trustworthy, less competent, and more aggressive — even if you are the happiest, most trustworthy, competent and friendly person around.

The effects of a good night’s sleep on the face

A good night’s sleep has multiple benefits for your face. When you sleep, the skin works on repairing itself. The top layer not only protects your body from injury and infection, but it also locks in moisture to help keep your skin hydrated. When you regularly get a good night’s sleep, your skin will function optimally, which will not only help you to look awake and energetic when you start your day, but will also help your immune system work more efficiently while warding off the damaging effects of stress. Your skin locks in the moisture it needs to support the underlying tissues, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles. It is also during sleep that dead skin cells slough off and result in fresh, youthful new skin in its place.

Steps to improving your sleep

The most important step toward getting a good night’s sleep is to create a bedtime ritual. Always get ready for bed at the same time every night by performing the same tasks in the same order. We help our children develop good sleep habits, but we often don’t do the same for ourselves. It really makes a difference!

A great way to start your bedtime ritual is by cleansing your skin. Don’t just think of it as washing your face though. Instead, use your pre-bedtime face washing as a time to relax and to prepare brain and body for slowing down to make the most of the refreshing benefits of a good night’s sleep. Be sure to remove any pore-clogging makeup or other products applied during the day, and wash away the pollutants that cling to our skin throughout the day.

Clear your bedroom of distractions and kick out your cell phone, since cell phones are now a leading cause of sleep deprivation. We may only plan on using our phone as an alarm clock, but how often do you really put it down and get to sleep right away? How often do you really leave it alone and not check for emails or texts, or wake up at night to just check the time only to find yourself engrossed in a game an hour later? Invest in an alarm clock that is truly only that, and leave your phone in another room.

If you are still experiencing difficulty with sleeping, consider practicing relaxation methods such as massage, yoga routines developed to improve sleep, or meditation. Some may benefit from doing these only once per week, while others may need to do them daily.

Whatever is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep, the solution is usually focusing on self-care. By taking care of yourself, you naturally promote healthy habits, including better sleep.

What if the damage is already done?

If you have been sleep-deprived for a long time, some damage may already be done. Perhaps you have dark under-eye circles that just won’t go away, or your cheeks appear to be less plump than they once were. Maybe you have fine lines and wrinkles despite taking great care of your skin.

If you’ve tried everything possible at home to deal with your visible signs of sleep deprivation and have already improved your sleep habits, it might be time to consider medical skin rejuvenation treatments. You may benefit from something as simple as regular facials or chemical peels to address dull skin and skin imperfections brought on by lack of sleep. If you suffer from fine lines or wrinkles due to chronic sleep deprivation, you might benefit from dermal fillers.

The better your sleep habits, the fresher, more energetic, and healthier your appearance will be, and by extension, the happier you may appear to others. The effects of better sleep on the face will tend to make you appear more trustworthy, more competent, and less aggressive to those around you. Better sleep has a positive effect on your relationships with others — not only because you have more energy and are well rested, but because others will perceive you more positive simply based on the appearance of your well-rested face.

To learn more about the impact of sleep on your appearance and about medical skin rejuvenation options, get in touch with Kansas City Surgical Arts by filling out our simple online form to request a consultation, or call us today at (816) 286-4126.