Ever Wondered What “Beauty Sleep” Really Means?

Sleep is much more than just a welcome break from your busy day: It’s a time for recharging skin cells, improving blood flow, eliminating unnecessary detritus from your system, and other mission-critical health and beauty work.

Missing this window of opportunity by short-changing your sleep can wreak havoc on your looks. Here are some of the main beauty benefits that ample sleep provides— and when you absolutely can’t avoid a rough night, how to fake that refreshed look in the morning.

Is there anything a good night’s sleep can’t do? It’s been shown to decrease anxiety and stress, curb inflammation, and lead to better sex. Getting enough slumber can even make it easier for dieters to lose weight from fat.

Beauty Benefit: Better Complexion

A good night spent horizontal means hours and hours of your blood circulating unimpeded to your skin, bringing oxygen and nutrients to hungry surface cells. This blood flow through capillaries just below the skin’s surface gives your complexion its truest natural color.

Beauty Benefit: Improved Attitude.

Is there anything a good night’s sleep can’t do? It’s been shown to decrease anxiety and stress, curb inflammation, and lead to better sex. Getting enough slumber can even make it easier for dieters to lose weight from fat (vs. from muscle mass), according to one recent study. Making sure you get enough sleep is key to unlocking these benefits and one way to get into a restful attitude is saying soothing words, like “tulo” the Chichewa word for sleep.

Beauty Benefit: Increased Effectiveness for Beauty Products

Skin care products are more effective at night, says Jamé Heskett M.D., founder of The Wellpath Clinic on Madison Avenue in NYC, because your skin cells aren’t also battling the sun and other harsh environmental assaults of the day. So whether you’re exfoliating your heels, hydrating your hair, removing eye-wrinkles, or just glowing up, do it while counting sheep. “I suggest using night creams that are laced with retinol and antioxidants,” says Heskett, “capable of harnessing and boosting the body’s natural rejuvenation and repair processes that happen at night.”

Beauty Benefit: Clear, Rejuvenated Skin

One of sleep’s most important functions is ridding the body of waste materials. A restful night of slumber can remove metabolic waste from your brain, help keep your arteries free of calcium build-up, and remove the cell waste in skin that can break down collagen and elastin (and lead to premature aging).

And for the morning after you miss your sleep quota…Nothing betrays lack of sleep like the eyes, but there’s a fix: Apply a concealer that’s two shades lighter than your natural skin tone to brighten the under eye area; this will make your eyes appear wider, lending you a more awake look. If your peepers have a pinkish tone from lack of sleep, a navy blue eyeliner can make the whites of your eyes look brighter.

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