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Dealing With Sleep Deprivation on Skin

2021 Guide to the Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Skin | Vichy Canada

It’s called beauty sleep for a reason! Here’s why getting shut-eye is the key to looking (and feeling) your best.

1. What is sleep deprivation?

2. What are the risks of lack of sleep?

3. Why healthy skin requires sleep

4. How to treat sleep-deprived skin

5. How to improve your sleep


It’s easy to fall into a routine of sleeping less. Whether it’s a late-night with friends or working into the evening to meet a deadline, suddenly you might find yourself averaging far below the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended seven to nine hours of rest each night.

Sleep affects most of the tissue in our bodies as well as our growth and stress hormones, while regulating our immune system, appetite and blood pressure. It also affects our skin. As it turns out, the phrase “beauty sleep” is aptly named—and there’s science to help back it up. Clocking enough hours of sleep, and getting quality sleep, can actually improve your health—and appearance.

Here, we break down why sleep is fundamental to maintaining healthy skin. Here’s everything you need to know about getting a good night’s sleep and the products that can help mitigate any damage caused by sleep deprivation.

1. What is sleep deprivation?

Many factors can impact your skin, like sun exposure, stress and diet, but sleep—and, more importantly, a lack of it—can hugely affect your complexion. According to the Canadian government, one in two adults have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep and one in five adults do not find their sleep refreshing. In other words, sleep deprivation is a national crisis.

The term “sleep deprivation” refers to getting less than the recommended amount of sleep for adults, which is seven to nine hours. When you get less sleep than that, as many people do, it ultimately leads to health problems. According to The Sleep Foundation, there are three main types of sleep deprivation: acute sleep deprivation, which refers to a reduction of total sleep time for a few days; chronic sleep deprivation, which refers to experiencing sleeplessness over an extended period of time and can vary in severity; and chronic insufficient sleep, which is ongoing poor sleep that occurs because of sleep fragmentation or other disruptions.

2. What are the risks of lack of sleep?

There’s no question that sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your body—and mind—from head to toes. It can directly affect how a person feels during the day. Some of the most common symptoms include slowed thinking, bad memory, short attention span, lack of energy, mood swings and poor decision-making.

One of the areas it most notably affects is the brain. Just one night of poor sleep will affect cognition, memory, learning and processing. However, if you are able to get in a few good nights of sleep, the effects are only short-term and your brain will regain its normal executive functions.

Mood swings are also a major symptom of sleep deprivation. When it’s acute, it can cause a manic effect and temporarily disturb our perspective on things because our brain suddenly thinks every little thing is important. However, in the long-term, when decreased sleep is chronic, it can lead to more serious mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Lack of sleep also slows down our metabolism and increases appetite—and rarely for the healthy stuff. This, of course, can contribute to weight gain. It also compromises the immune system when we don’t get enough sleep, decreasing our ability to fight the common cold and leaving us susceptible to contracting other viral infections.

3. Why healthy skin requires sleep

Although the research on the effects of sleep and skin are limited, there’s no doubt that the two are linked. Even one night’s bad sleep can cause dark circles and puffiness under the eyes in the morning. Why? Because, when you’re under stress, your cortisol levels rise, and this changes the salt balance in your body, which leads to water retention—hence the puffiness.

In 2013, research out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that there’s a correlation between sleep deprivation and skin aging—think wrinkles and dark spots. In addition to premature aging, there are certain skin disorders that can be worsened by lack of sleep, like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

During sleep the body rests and regenerates by eliminating and replacing dead cells, including skin and blood cells. This is when the skin works hard to rebuild its collagen and repair damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots. More sleep is also connected to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is linked to acne and puffy eyes and can increase free-radical damage to the skin.

4. How to treat sleep-deprived skin

We’re all familiar with the immediate consequences of a sleepless night—crankiness and an unquenchable thirst for caffeine, for starters—but consistent sleep deprivation takes a serious toll on the skin too. Next to undereye circles and bags, dryness is a major side effect of a poor night’s sleep. The skin gets dehydrated, and if you add over-caffeination in the morning, this will only lead to more dryness. (Caffeine is a mild diuretic.) This means fine lines and wrinkles are more apparent due to a lack of sleep. Luckily, there are skincare products for sleep-deprived skin.

To help replenish the skin, top up your hydration before you turn in for the night. Start with the best hyaluronic acid serum. Vichy Minéral 89 is made up of 89% Vichy volcanic water plus moisturizing hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It makes skin feel softer and look dewier. Follow that up with the best fractionated probiotic serum, like Vichy Minéral 89 Probiotic Fractions. The gel-like texture combined with regenerating and repairing probiotic fractions grown in Vichy volcanic water help to strengthen the skin barrier; the product is clinically proven to visibly improve dullness, elasticity, stress lines and overall radiance. Finally, lock in all those potent ingredients with a moisturizer for night, like Vichy Active Supreme Night. [should this be Vichy LiftActiv Supreme Night?]

In the morning, start off your routine by cracking open one of the best vitamin C serum ampoule and dabbing it on cleansed skin. Vichy LiftActiv Specialist Peptide-C Ampoules pack a serious punch when it comes to slowing the onset of fine lines and wrinkles and keeping skin looking youthful while simultaneously protecting against further damage. Each vial boasts 10% pure vitamin C, plant-based phyto peptides and hyaluronic acid. The concentrated serum delivers a much higher potency of skin-nourishing ingredients to target collagen loss and reduce the appearance of fine lines. If it’s a lack of sleep that’s causing puffiness and dark circles under the eyes, it’s time to call in the big guns with the best eye serum. Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes wakes up sleepy eyes with its combination of hyaluronic acid and pure caffeine to strengthen the skin’s barrier function, hydrate and smooth fine lines and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

5. How to improve your sleep

It’s important to treat sleep problems before they get worse and become a permanent part of your life. A good sleep, characterized by seven to nine hours a night, leads to healthy brain function, improves health and helps you process feelings and emotions. But not getting your 40 winks can elevate anxiety, and this can disrupt sleep, thus creating a vicious cycle. Here are three minor changes you can make to your behaviour to help aid your sleep.

Don’t skip your workout: Regular physical activity can give you a better-quality sleep, which means you fall asleep within 30 minutes and sleep soundly through the night and if woken you can drift back to sleep within 20 minutes. However, you need to do your exercise earlier in the day. The general rule is to stop exercising two hours before bedtime; even if you feel exhausted after your nightly workout, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a good-quality sleep.

Power down: All that blue-wavelength light emitted from our computers, laptops and phone screens is a powerful stimulant. Scientific studies from the University of Toronto and Harvard University have shown that it can also suppress melatonin production and alter our circadian rhythms—which, you guessed it, disrupt sleep.

Keep a routine: Stick to a regular wake-up and bedtime schedule. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle.


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Vichy has created anti-aging products that not only address fine lines and wrinkles, but also uneven skin tone, discoloration and lack of firmness.

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