Yes, there is such a thing as “Beauty Sleep.” During sleeping hours your skin heals and improves itself from the day’s wear and tear. The more sleep you get, the clearer your skin. A lack of sleep leads to stress and more breakouts, even for adults. For example, dark circles can look darker when you do not get the proper rest. Your skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which helps prevent sagging. Your body boosts blood flow to your skin while you sleep. Therefore, you wake up with a healthy glow, looking and feeling refreshed. Without sleep your complexion looks dull and lifeless, also puffy eyes are an issue. When we do not sleep, our eyes are the first thing we notice. Also, your facial night routine i.e. moisturizer, toners…works better at night; it gives the products a chance to do their job.
- Wash your face before bed. Use Essence of Nature, LLC “Meltaway,” or another of our mild cleansers.
- Pat dry (never rub)
- Used a clean towel every day; never use the same towel on your body.
- Cover your hair when you sleep.
- If you have dry skin, purchase a humidifier for the bedroom.
- Do not forget your lips (your lips are skin too). Use Essence of Nature, LLC “Kiss.”
- Wearing an overnight face mask that helps hydrate the skin is a good idea. Please note, an overnight mask is not the traditional face mask.
- Always moisturize and tone your skin before bed.
- Purchase a good pillow. Sleeping on rough cotton can irritate your skin and disturb your sleep.
- Use a silk or satin pillowcase.
- Drinking water is especially important for your skin.
- Never sleep with makeup on.
- Every now and then pamper yourself and get a facial.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
If you do not get proper sleep to allow your skin to regenerate and repair after working so hard to protect your insides, your skin will show the negative repercussions.
We do so much to make our skin look great in the morning. Our bathroom counters are cluttered with everything from 10-step skin care to Fenty foundation, or the most recent Amazon haul from clean beauty brands.
But what if one of the biggest secrets to better skin was as simple as laying down and taking a nap? After all, our body never stops working — especially when we’re asleep.
It turns out there’s quite a bit of research and science behind the concept of beauty rest. Sleep is when some of the most important internal — and epidermal — recovery takes place!
While you shouldn’t fully abandon your daytime skin care routine in favor of getting more Zzz’s, there are some easy ways to amp your skin-sleep relationship for morning results.How sleep affects your skin
You can almost immediately tell that getting a poor night of sleep doesn’t do woke-up-like-this wonders for your face. Research even says that one night of poor sleep can cause:
- hanging eyelids
- swollen eyes
- darker under eye circles
- paler skin
- more wrinkles and fine lines
- more droopy corners of the mouth
A 2017 study found that two days of sleep restriction negatively affected participant’s perceived attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness.
So, what seems like an overnight issue could transform into something more permanent.
First and foremost, you should understand that sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. This is true for your epidermis as much as it is for your brain or your muscles. During sleep, your skin’s blood flow increases, and the organ rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots.
Second, sleep is a time when your face inevitably comes into contact with the elements directly around it for a long time, especially if you’re getting the recommended seven to nine hours each night.
Think about it: Your face against rough, drying cotton for one-third of its existence and being exposed to the sun for two unprotected hours could do a number on the appearance and health of your skin. Here’s what you can do to help give your skin a rest.1. Get a full night of sleep
The best place to start for your skin — and for your overall health — is to get the recommended amount of rest each night.
The results of poor sleep for your skin are numerous and significant, including:
- skin that ages faster
- skin that doesn’t recover as well from environmental stressors like sun exposure
- less satisfaction with your skin quality
Sometimes you might have an off day but you should average seven to nine hours of sleep. If you’re wondering how to reset your internal clock and catch up on rest, try sleeping in on the weekends by following our three-day fix guide.
You can also track your sleep with a wearable fitness tracker.2. Wash your face before turning in
We’ve established how sleeping is a surefire way to help your skin repair itself: blood flow increases, collagen is rebuilt, and the muscles in your face relax after a long day.
But going to sleep with a dirty face can also harm the appearance of your skin.
Cleansing your face each night is arguably more important than in the morning — you don’t need to use fancy products or scrub too hard. A gentle cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and extra oil will do the trick.
You don’t want to give the day’s pore-clogging irritants the chance to sink in and do damage overnight. This can cause:
- large pores
- dry skin
- acne outbreaks
Washing your face can dry it out and sleeping can also dehydrate skin, especially if you snooze in a low-humidity environment. While staying hydrated by drinking water can help to some extent, what your skin really needs at night is a topical moisturizer.
Again, you don’t need the fanciest product on the market. You just need a thicker cream or oil that can help your skin as you sleep. Another option is to use your day moisturizer and layer petroleum jelly — using clean hands — on top to lock in the moisturize. For a more supercharged product, try an overnight sleeping mask.4. Sleep on your back or use a special pillowcase
It makes sense that the position your face is in while you sleep (for one-third of your day!) matters to your skin.
Sleeping on a rough cotton surface can irritate your skin and compress your face for long hours at a time, resulting in wrinkles. While most wrinkles are caused by the expressions we make while we’re awake, wrinkles on the face and chest can result from sleeping on our stomachs or sides.
An easy solution to this is sleeping on your back — which also has a few other benefits — even if you have to train yourself over time.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, get a skin-friendly pillow. A satin or silk pillow minimizes skin irritation and compression while copper-oxide pillowcases may reduce crow’s-feet and other fine lines.Skin-special pillowcases to try:
Elevating your head has been proven to help with snoring, acid reflux, and nasal drip — all issues that can disturb the quality of your sleep, and therefore your skin. In addition, it can help reduce bags and circles under your eyes by improving blood flow and preventing blood from pooling.
Elevating your head while you sleep can be as simple as adding an extra pillow, adding a wedge to your mattress, or even propping the head of your bed by a few inches.Popular pillow wedges
While we do most of our sleeping in the dark, sleeping with your skin directly exposed to the sun in the morning, or during naps, can have a damaging effect on your skin’s health and appearance — not to mention that sleeping in a lighted room can disturb sleep and sleep rhythms.
Getting blackout curtains or making sure that your bed is out of the sun’s direct line can help.Embrace healthy sleep as a way to healthy skin
In 2019, the skin care industry will see an estimated $130 billion dollars of global sales, in the form of lotions, fillers, serums, and scrubs. But while we often spend a lot of our time layering and lasering our skin, paying attention to how we treat our skin during sleeping hours shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s not just for a glow or looking youthful, it’s about maintaining your health in body, mind, and skin for years to come. A few wrinkles never hurt anyone — in fact, they’re usually a sign of happy years lived.
Anson G, et al. (2016). Sleep wrinkles: Facial aging and facial distortion during sleep. DOI:1093/asj/sjw074
Baek JH, et al. (2012). Reduction of facial wrinkles depth by sleeping on copper oxide-containing pillowcases. DOI:
Kim MA, et al. (2017). The effects of sleep deprivation on the biophysical properties of facial skin. DOI:
National sleep foundation recommends new sleep times [Press release]. (n.d.).
Oyetakin-White P, et al. (2013). Effects of sleep quality on skin aging and function.
Oyetakin-White P, et al. (2015). Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing? DOI:
Popkin B, et al. (2011). Water, hydration, and health.
Sundelin T, et al. (2013). Cues of fatigue: Effects of sleep deprivation on facial appearance. DOI:
Sundelin T, et al. (2017). Negative effects of restricted sleep on facial appearance and social appeal. DOI:
Talakoub L, et al. (2015). Dark circles under the eyes.
Written by Sarah Aswell — Updated on August 28, 2020
Jenece Amella, makeup artist, Denver, Colo.
American Academy of Dermatology: "What causes our skin to age."
Axelsson, J. BMJ, December 2010, vol. 341.
Chiu, A. Archives of Dermatology. 2003; vol. 139(7): pp 897-900.
Patricia Farris, M.D., dermatologist, Old Metairie Dermatology in New Orleans, La.
Debra Jaliman M.D., author of "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist."
Kafi, R. Archives of Dermatology, May 2007, vol. 143: pp 606-612.
Ben and Howard Kaminsky, authors of Beyond Botox.
National Health Service: "Look After Your Skin."
Marina Peredo, M.D., founder of Spatique Medical Spa in Smithtown, N.Y.
Skincarephysicians.com: "10 Tips: Selecting Age-Fighting Topicals."