Can sleep reduce acne? Can you really sleep your way to clearer skin? We all know that getting a good night’s sleep means we’re much more likely to feel refreshed and energised with a sense of well-being in the morning. The fact that all mammals sleep suggests that sleep has a definite purpose. It is critical for us to function both biologically and physiologically.
There are no rules about how much sleep is necessary but on average adults sleep about seven and a half hours each night. Children sleep more than adults – as much as 14-18 hours soon after birth, reducing to adult levels by their early teens.
But did you know there’s a direct link between the quality of your sleep, the way you sleep and acne breakouts? Getting a good nights sleep can definitely be considered an effective form of acne treatment as well as offering some beneficial anti-ageing benefits.
What causes acne?
Together with sweating and stress, it’s thought that being deprived of sleep is one of the three main acne triggers.
Studies into acne severity and sleep quality conclude that sleep plays a major role in restoring the function of our immune system. Changes in our immune response triggered by sleep deprivation can affect collagen production – and this in turn can have a negative effect on our skin health.
Poor sleep quality means your body can’t repair skin cells during the night and it’s prone to release more cortisol, a stress hormone which encourages inflammation in the skin, causing acne to flare up.
Poor sleep, or lack of sleep, can have a number of causes. The most common is worry, preventing you from going to sleep or getting back to sleep after waking during the night.
Your bedroom environment could be the cause of irregular sleep, most commonly being disturbed by noise, light, heat or cold.
If you want to have a better night’s sleep and prevent acne breakouts, we’ve collected together our top five sleep and skincare tips:
1. Make sure your sheets are clean.
As acne is caused by a build-up of bacteria in your pores, it’s really important you minimise the chance of any added bacteria getting onto your skin. This is particularly important to bear in mind when it comes to your bed linen.
Always make sure your sheets are clean, otherwise you could be cuddling up to spot-causing bacteria every night. We recommend washing your sheets and pillowcases every week in un-fragranced, non-biological liquid detergent as it’s less likely to leave skin-irritating residue than powder and is enzyme-free.
It’s thought that enzymes in biological detergents can cause problems for people with healthy skin so it can definitely aggravate acne-prone skin. Many people who suffer from acne report a noticeable improvement in their skin condition after switching to non-biological detergent.
Wash your bed linen every week or if that’s not possible, at least change your pillowcase weekly to avoid skin bacteria transference.
2. Improve your sleeping position.
It can be tough to change your sleeping position, particularly as many of us have tended to roll into the same position every night for years.
However, sleeping on your back is much more likely to stop your skin being irritated by pillows and sheets through the transference of bacteria and other debris from bedding to your pores – all of which can worsen acne.
An additional skin benefit is that sleeping on your back can also prevent wrinkles!
3. Develop a good bedtime ritual.
Staring at a screen late into the night makes your brain super active and can also lead to dry, tired eyes. This really isn’t conducive to a good night’s rest. Instead, introduce a positive bedtime ritual that’s likely to ease you off into a relaxing snooze.
We recommend going to bed half an hour before you intend to sleep and reading a book and having a warm – not hot – soothing bath before bedtime. Why not try sprinkling some lavender oil onto your pillows, as it’s known for its sleep-inducing benefits.
Do try and avoid looking at your phone or laptop shortly before bed. Believe it or not, they trick the brain into thinking it’s daylight and can keep you awake long after the screen is switched off. The same goes for watching tv.
4. Keep your room cool and well ventilated.
An overheated bedroom will make it harder for you to go to sleep and will increase the chance of you waking up with congested and inflamed skin.
Bacteria is more likely to thrive when the heating is set to “tropical”, so invest in good quality bedding rather than blowing your budget on the heating bill and increasing the chance of aggravating your acne condition in the process.
Try and aim for a bedroom temperature of 18 degrees celsius.
5. Cleanse before bedtime.
It may be tempting to go to bed without removing makeup or cleaning your face thoroughly. However, not wiping away the dirt of the day and removing dead skin cells means acne-causing bacteria has all night to thrive on your skin. This can lead to clogged pores, blackheads and whiteheads.
Make-up, sebum and environmental pollutants that have gathered on your face during the day seep into your pores and can cause poor skin health, acne breakouts and can speed up the ageing process.
So no matter how tired you are, always fit a good cleanse and moisturising ritual into your bedtime skin care routine; it’s probably one of the best skin care tips and it’s worth the time investment to help you achieve clearer, acne-free skin. Make sure you use non-comedogenic skin care products which are also unlikely to cause inflammation. You can check out a full list of ingredients to watch out for in our post on this subject.
The same goes for your hair. It may not be squeaky clean every night, so if it isn’t – and you have long hair – place it in a bun on top of your head, so no dirt or toxins are transferred into your pores throughout the night.
Following these tips can help you rest easy, knowing you are doing more to reduce the chances of a poor nights sleep turning into poor skin health. You could also add a natural skincare supplement such as PRAVENAC help: clear skin into your daily skincare routine.
PRAVENAC help: clear skin® is a nutritional supplement formulation proven to successfully treat acne for people with dry, oily, normal and sensitive skin types. PRAVENAC help: clear skin has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are delivered by the four active ingredients in the formulation; lactoferrin, 500: 1 high extract aloe vera, oligofructose and zinc gluconate.
This combination of ingredients in PRAVENAC help: clear skin® targets the symptoms of acne, reducing the size and frequency of spots and also helping to reduce the impact of acne-related scarring – all without time-consuming bathroom routines, prescription medicines and expensive trips to the dermatologist.