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The Beauty (of) Sleep

Jennifer Cunningham

“You look tired.” We’ve all heard it, haven’t we? When you’re not sleeping well, you don’t only feel it, but it shows on your face and your skin. The term “beauty sleep” exists for a reason — because it’s true. A good night’s slumber does wonders for your overall well-being, and when you feel refreshed, you look refreshed. Not only that, but our body requires the downtime under the covers to revive itself. Our internal engine gets a boost when we are at rest and depriving it of the time it needs shows on our faces.

There is a simple reason sleep is all over the place these days — we’re not getting enough and it is a tiny step toward relieving a ton of ills. Vast studies show the many ways not getting enough takes its toll on basically everything in your life. When I started seeing different research revealing dry and flaky skin, weight gain — not to mention the dark circles and bags under the eyes, bloodshot and glassy orbs — I wanted to find out if there was anything out there that was addressing sleep-deprivation from a beauty sense. It’s not enough to know your lifestyle is showing on your face and skin. I wanted to know how I could fight it, bring it back to life if it is lackluster.

Something I want to make clear is that this isn’t about “looks” — the surface, the shallow. Yes, we will always notice “what” a person looks like before we notice “who” they are inside. First impressions and all that. But sleep and beauty, and how to get the best of both are about your physical wellness. A dewy face and supple lips are more than attractive. They’re signs of good health, proof FOR YOU that you’re doing right by your body.

Seek and ye shall find, and my search brought me an eye-opening and dizzying array of possibilities to rejuvenate sleep-deprived skin. On the Sephora website, there are 170 sleep-based beauty products alone. They range from those that work while you’re snoozing to ones that simply help you sleep so you wake renewed — because, remember, appropriately catching your zzzz’s is more important than anything.

Sleep, in general, is a cornerstone to overall health and wellness, and its role in how we look is internally based. Collagen reproduces while we sleep and that is the natural stuff inside of us that prevents wrinkles and saggy skin. If you are getting 5 or fewer hours a night, your skin doesn’t have time to rebound from the day. And those rosy cheeks and glowing skin you want? Blood flow gets a big boost during slumber and that’s what gives you both of those. Not enough rest makes our skin look dull and lifeless.

Even snoozing in the wrong position or using the wrong bed linen can wreak havoc on your skin. Rest on your stomach and internal liquid pools in the valleys beneath your eyes making them puffy and baggy. Solution? Hydrate, lay on your back and elevate your head with a couple of pillows. Put your face on a scratchy, low-thread count sheet or pillowcase, you are gently pulling on your delicate skin when you toss and turn. Solution? Silk and satin sheets serve far more of a purpose beyond simply feeling utterly delicious against our body. They are slippery and that smooth surface is kind to our face, which means when we move around our bed isn’t tugging at it and creating wrinkles.


Sleep for yourself

While I’ve mentioned Sephora, which conjures visions of luxury, the brands out there on the market are not just for the high-end consumer. With the new push for more sleep-related beauty products, the market is full of things to wear while you sleep, to help you sleep, to repair sleep damage and more that cover all budgets. Whether it’s silk pillows from Slip Silk, the relaxing hydrating lotion from Lush called “Sleep,” Bumble and Bumble’s sleep repair masque, or Moon Juice — a healthy powder you mix in with your milk before you go to bed to rejuvenate and revive your outside from the inside — the fixes to the problems of “You look tired” and “I need my beauty sleep” are far-reaching and growing.

I’m really excited about this trend and hope it becomes the norm, not another “one hit wonder” in the HBA space. It supports and encourages a healthy lifestyle in unique and engaging ways, and it puts beauty in nutritious perspective. We so often overlook how the smallest things in our life can make a giant difference. Sleep is one of them. It’s free, it’s all natural, and our bodies are already set up for it. It’s a beauty aid we can easily embrace. Now, you can enhance the benefits of sleep with a variety of good products you can use as you slumber — not hacks or wannabes, but actual GOOD solutions — that covers a huge assortment from $1200+ per 20 ml elixirs to simple “overnight” gel masks you can pick up at the local bed and bath store. There truly is something for every body because all of us deserve to feel and look our best, naturally, wholesomely.

And all you need to do is sleep.


Night Sky Night Sky