Sleep and Other Simple Fixes for Your Biggest Skin Complaints

We all feel better after a good sleep, but you might not realize that huge improvements in one’s skin can simply be due to getting some extra shut-eye. Most often within two nights of uninterrupted slumber, your eyes will appear less puffy, dark circles will fade, wrinkles will become less noticeable and, most remarkably, acne will begin to heal.

It makes sense that during sleep, when the body does not have to busy itself with functions like digestion or physical exertion, it’s able to focus all of its energy on regenerating cells, building energy, neutralizing free radicals and regulating hormones—all of which can have a dramatic influence on the look and feel of skin. Specifically, snoozing allows the body to minimize the negative effects of cortisol (the so-called aging hormone), such as breaking down muscle and thinning skin.

Below is a look at the relationship between sleep and many of the most common skin complaints as well as tips for dealing with them.

Puffy Eyes

Crying and not getting enough sleep are two of the biggest causes of puffy eyes; although sleeping on your stomach with your face down on your pillow is an even bigger culprit. Even drinking water (or any beverage) shortly before bed can add to the problem. Essentially, bags you see in the morning are just the result of fluid that has pooled under the eyes; so you want to minimize water retention.

The Fix: To deflate, place a cold washcloth on your eyes for several minutes to help drain the fluid. Another solution is applying cool, moist black-tea bags (wrapped in tissue) over each eye. The tannins in the tea work as an astringent to pull the skin taut and reduce puffiness. To prevent future puffiness, avoid salt and alcohol, get more sleep, and try sleeping on two pillows to keep your head elevated at night.

Dark Circles

To some extent, heredity plays a significant role in dark circles. However, skimping on sleep can definitely exacerbate the problem. Without enough sleep, the body can’t properly regenerate and plump up skin cells, leaving the area under the eyes thinner and more transparent to the blood vessels underneath.

The Fix: In addition to easing puffiness, holding a cold washcloth on the eyes for about five minutes will help constrict blood vessels, minimizing darkness. At night, use a good under-eye moisturizer made from nourishing ingredients such as elastin, vitamin E and collagen to help firm skin.

Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Plain and simple, skin looks dehydrated, creased and older if you’re not sleeping well or enough. Hormones are disrupted, oil secretion is set off-kilter, and one’s face suffers. What’s more, lines and wrinkles on the face can also worsen depending on the way you are sleeping.

The Fix: Make sure you are using a moisturizer that is right for your skin type, and that you’re drinking plenty of water and eating well. And, as always, make sure you’re getting enough sleep—on your back, if possible.

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