There are countless reasons to nap during the holidays — post-feasting pass-out, post-shopping zone-out and the cozy warm comfort of your couch while it blusters and blows outside are all prime reasons to fall into a nap hole — but for heaven sake, let’s not forget about all the glorious ways getting a little extra shut-eye can unknowingly age you.
Yeah, we thought that would get your attention.
It’s no secret that natural repetitive movements like smiling, frowning, squinting and pursing your pout can create lines and wrinkles that last — guess what else is something we repeat, night after night, throughout the entirety of our lives causing wrinkles and lines? Sleep position.
Since giving up sleep entirely isn’t a viable option… let’s review. Sleeping on your side or your stomach and pressing your face into a pillow can create the same lasting wrinkles that repetitive expressions do. Regardless of your age, stomach and side sleepers have likely already woken up with a few new wrinkles imbedded between their brows, or emblazoned across their cheeks that take longer and longer to fade as the months roll by. All due to the repetitive motions of sleeping.
Did you know that the 60% of people that do sleep on their sides are also encouraging vertically creasing down the cheek and jawline of the preferred side, and reinforcing vertical wrinkles like frown lines and lip lines? Now imagine that you’re partial to sleeping on one side of your face and not the other — meaning only one side of your face is feeling the aging effects of your sleep position. *Gasp! Yes. We know.
What to do, what to do? First, feel the fear and make a concerted effort to sleep on your back. Not only will doing this make you less susceptible to the signs of aging caused by sleep, but it will also help drain the fluid that is the main cause of waking with puffy eyes and will help reduce your risk of skin breakouts caused by bacteria on your pillows and sheets. Adding a pillow under your knees will help keep you from rolling over while you’re attempting to train yourself to sleep on your back, and adding an additional pillow under your head or purchasing a pillow designed with neck support will help make the position more comfortable by keeping your spine in line.
If you simply cannot (will not) switch to sleeping on your back, try alternating the side on which you do sleep to help even out the damage, and swap out those cotton pillowcases for satin or silk as they’ll reduce the friction between your skin and the offending item.
Now commence napping… zzz… zzz… zzz.
Despite the title, we know the truth. And if you neglected your zzz’s in favor of a weekend of late nights, so do you. Today’s must-have is a bonus for your skin, your eyes, your hair and your well-being — It’s called sleep.
No amount of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing can undo the damage done to your skin by skimming by a few hours of sleep. Sleep is that magical time when damaged skin cells repair themselves, and without enough your skin doesn’t have the time to complete the restorative process, which can create fine lines, wrinkling and a blotchy, uneven skin tone.
Another thing paying a heavy price for your late nights is your skin’s flagging elasticity. Collagen — that magical thing that your body produces to keep your skin plump, smooth and elastic — weakens with time, and sleepy-time is when your body naturally produces collagen. So you do the math: Not enough sleep + not enough collagen = saggy, baggy skin.
If that equation isn’t enough to scare you into at least 7 hours of shut-eye, let’s talk about acne. Your body is a masterpiece at self preservation, and when it’s not getting enough rest, it will produce a particular class of stress hormone called glucocorticoids in increasing amounts. Glucocoricoids can then produce a particularly stubborn bout of acne. What?! Yes. Stress, paired with a lack of sleep is a troublesome twosome that can trigger abnormalities in the skin structure, exacerbating acne and make it increasingly difficult to get rid of.
Wrinkles, sagging and acne? Those late nights don’t really seem worth it now, do they? Instead, try scheduling in at least 7 hours of sleep a night and get back your glow.