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How Insufficient Sleep Can Affect Your Appearance

woman looking at eye wrinkles in mirror

woman looking at eye wrinkles in mirror

A good night's sleep benefits nearly every essential function in your body. It's during deep sleep that your brain sorts information and clears the clutter, tissues regenerate, and your immune system kicks into high gear.

While you might assume you are getting an acceptable amount of sleep, or at least believe you are still functioning adequately on the amount of sleep you get, sleep deprivation causes subtle changes in your appearance. People may comment that you look tired, out of sorts, or depressed.

While "looking tired" could mean significantly different things to different people, knowing how an insufficient amount of sleep can influence your appearance could strengthen your resolve to make sleeping a health and wellness priority.

Signs You Might Not Be Getting Enough Quality Sleep

Many people are aware of the long-term health risks associated with sleep deprivation, including the increased risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. But since the long-term effects seem less likely to affect their present situation, a significant number of people continue to accept the short-term consequences of too little sleep. Most plan to catch up on lost sleep at some point in the not-so-distant future.

If you are one of the many people who try to make up for lost sleep, it's essential to know that sleep debt is not quickly repaid. While you may feel more rested and alert once you have an opportunity to "sleep in," it can take a considerable amount of time for your body to recover fully. The cumulative effects can have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many short-term consequences of sleep deprivation include:

  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Susceptibility to illness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Problems with long-term or short-term memory
  • Low libido
  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety

How Sleep Deprivation Can Affect Your Appearance

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 30 percent of our adult population fails to get a sufficient amount of sleep. Recent studies confirm that images of test subjects who are well rested are perceived to be healthier and more attractive than photographs of the same subjects taken when sleep has been restricted.  

The reality of sleep deprivation is that a good percentage of our population functions on less sleep than their body needs for weeks, months, and even years at a time. Whether self-induced or the result of a sleep disorder, an insufficient amount of sleep can have long-term effects on your appearance, self-perception, and self-esteem. Before investing in the latest skincare product promising to alleviate your skin concerns, consider the following ways sleep deprivation can impact your appearance: 

Drooping Eyelids

The muscles around your eyes are particularly susceptible to the signs of fatigue. The levator muscles that open your upper eyelids and the muscles that control your brows are active during most of your waking hours. If you are not getting enough sleep, these muscles do not have a significant opportunity to recover and repair. When combined with the excess skin and fat commonly positioned over the eyes, fatigued muscles, fat pads, and skin folds combine to make the eyes appear drooping and heavy.

Facial Puffiness and Eye Bags

The water throughout your body is distributed while you slumber.  If you notice an increase in the puffiness of your face or develop pouches or bags under your eyes, you see the results of a body that did not have sufficient time to achieve fluid balance. When you don't get enough sleep, water accumulates under your eyes, but the delicate skin in that area does not have an opportunity to tighten.

Darkened Undereye Circles

Those tell-tale dark circles we all experience from burning the midnight oil are the result of blood vessel dilation. If your dark circles are hereditary, lack of sleep will make the discoloration under your eyes more pronounced. When combined with the natural tendency for sleep-deprived skin to become increasingly pale, the contrast in tone can cause dark circles to appear even darker.

Blemishes or Dry Skin

While you sleep, your body is hard at work, removing toxins, eliminating dead skin cells, and clearing the pathways for new cells to take their place. Your body eliminates 60 percent more toxins while you are asleep than when you are awake. Sleep deprivation also causes the pH level of your skin to drop. The drop in PH decreases your skin's ability to produce the moisture necessary to keep it looking healthy. As a result, you may notice your skin is more prone to breakouts, uneven texture, and dryness.

Accelerated Skin Aging

Sleep deprivation is directly linked to accelerated skin aging. If you have not been getting enough quality sleep, you will likely notice the formation of fine lines, loss of elasticity, and uneven pigmentation. The acceleration of the aging process is caused by the cortisol your body produces in times of stress. Cortisol interferes with the production of collagen. Decreased collagen production can lead to slack jowls, sagging nasolabial folds, and wrinkles. On average, fine lines and wrinkles increase as much as 45% and could age your appearance for up to 10 years. Sleeping only six hours for five consecutive nights can double the number of visible wrinkles on your skin.

In spite of knowing the many potential health consequences of too little sleep, many of us still make it through the day on much less sleep than a healthy body requires. Sleeping less than your body needs can have a significant effect on your health and overall appearance. In addition to the impact on skin health and aging, sleep deprivation can also contribute to hair loss and weight gain.

Your Worn Mattress Could be Affecting Your Sleep Quality

It may interest you to know that those who sleep too little or sleep poorly are generally much more negative about their overall appearance than those who sleep well. If your tired, worn mattress is keeping you from the sleep you deserve, visit Nest Bedding.

At Nest Bedding, you will find a quality assortment of affordable luxury mattresses, from memory foam mattresses to our hand-crafted, eco-friendly organic mattress options. While you browse our mattresses, you may also want to consider our selection of durable bedframes, furnishings, and luxurious bedding for yourself or your entire family. You'll love the quality of Nest Bedding products and our 100-night risk-free trial.