FYI: "Beauty Sleep" Is (Maybe) a Lie

Erin Jahns

For years, we've been told that the quality and quantity of sleep we log each night will have a direct correlation to how we feel and how we look. And considering the perpetual battle against dark under-eye circles, lackluster skin, and random bouts of exhaustion in relation to our not-so-perfect sleep routine, well, the interdependence of beauty and sleep would make sense.

But what if we're buying into the concept of beauty sleep more than we should be? Scientifically, does our groggy appearance each morning truly reflect the previous night's shut-eye? As it turns out, experts are disagreeing, and interestingly, we might be overestimating the sleep/skin correlation. So is beauty sleep a myth? Keep reading for the latest update.

Science says no

In support of the term, a study executed earlier this year proved that there is, indeed, a correlation between our appearance and sleep quality. According to the findings, we look less healthy, approachable, and, yes, attractive, when we flaunt the telltale signs of poor sleep (puffy eyes, dull skin, etc.). Even worse? These symptoms might lead people to avoid us altogether: The findings suggest that "one might also avoid contact with sleep-deprived, or sleepy-looking, individuals, as a strategy to reduce health risk and poor interactions." Yikes. 

Dermatologists say (maybe) yes

However, when Man Repeller reported that dermatologist Fayne Frey says we may be overestimating sleep's impact on the health of our complexions, we were intrigued. After all, doesn't that go against everything we've basically ever been told?

According to Frey, there is a deficit of information when it comes to double-blind control studies that correlate stages of shut-eye with skin activity: "Although there may be physiological differences in the skin when an individual is lying down and inactive, when fluid shifts away from dependent areas like the legs due to gravity, an evening skin repair system has never been elucidated."

However, Frey's claim does contradict the (widely) accepted idea that skin cell turnover accelerates at night. True, this type of cellular regeneration is constant (and never completely stops) during the day, but the majority of experts will tell you that the skin does most of its beautifying housekeeping in the wee hours of the night.

As Kendra Flockhart, education executive at Darphin, explained to us, "All day, the skin works hard to protect itself from constant attack, but while we're sleeping skin switches into 'recovery mode,' a time of intense repair and regeneration. In fact, at this time the regeneration process can be up to three times faster than during the day."

Additionally, while a few nights of sleeping with your makeup on may not incite the deluge of skin woes that we think it will, it's a good idea to invest in consistent cleansing routine.

Here's what we do know

While experts may disagree on what the correlation between beauty and sleep actually is, we do know that sleep quality is directly correlated with how we feel and even how our brain functions. And as much as we love a compliment-worthy glow and the absence of pesky undereye circles, we're way more concerned with our health and how we intrinsically feel on a day-to-day basis. So, since there is more to life than the radiance of our skin, we suggest strategic stretches, specific sleep positions, and a relaxing bedtime ritual to invest in your brain's beauty. 

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