Study: Sleep Deprivation Definitely Ages You

by Tori Telfer

Well, this news ain't pretty, but we can't say we're surprised. A recent study (commissioned by Estée Lauder— think they've got any stake in the game?) showed that sleep deprivation not only fails to do your skin any favors, it actually accelerates skin aging. Ugh.

The study focused not just on length of sleep, but on sleep quality — or lack thereof. The subjects were 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49. Half of them qualified as poor sleepers, determined according to how long they slept per night and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire, which assesses sleep quality. The scientists found that poor sleepers suffered from a number of undesirable things: Increased signs of intrinsic skin aging (in other words, aging that's caused by internal factors as opposed to sun damage, cigarette smoke, etc.), poor recovery from skin stressors, higher BMI, and lower perception of their own attractiveness. The intrinsic skin aging included fun features like fine lines, reduced elasticity, "slackening of skin," and uneven pigmentation.

Sleep is when your skin repairs itself, so it makes sense that poor sleep equals poor skin. But this study only makes it clearer that we can't be in denial about those chronically late nights anymore. If you have trouble falling into quality sleep, try this three-step formula:

1. Turn of electronics, seriously. The flickering light from your computer or TV stimulates your brain into a false sense of alertness, and you'll get poorer quality sleep even when you finally nod off.

2. Grab a glass of warm milk and some toast before bed.

3. Curl up with a book. Nothing feels quite as good as drifting to sleep with a novel in hand, and the quality of your sleep will be much higher, too. If you're tired, a few pages of should be enough to calm your mind and send you into restorative dreamland.

And don't forget to moisturize well before bed — no need to put your skin to bed at a disadvantage.

Image: xn3ctz on deviantART