Beauty Sleep Fact or Fiction?



Aug 26, 2023

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I understand the toll chronic stress takes on your mind, body, and skin. Throughout many years of figuring out my health issues, I have channelled my existing knowledge as a Holistic Remedial Therapist and up-skilled as a Certified Cosmetic Formulator to create FIFTY7KIND, offering a collection of Multi-Award-Winning, Luxury formulas elevated by High-Performance Clinically Proven Actives, designed to holistically treat the impact of stress, by calming, nurturing, rejuvenating and restoring balance to the skin. Every product is made by hand in my Artisan lab in Australia.

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We have all experienced sallow skin and puffy eyes after a few nights of missed, reduced or broken sleep. Unfortunately, chronic sleep loss can lead to lacklustre skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes. Getting enough ‘Beauty Sleep’ is not an urban myth! Not surprisingly two-thirds of adults throughout all developed nations fail to obtain the recommended amount of nightly sleep. In this article, we break down the meaning of “Beauty Sleep” and uncover whether beauty sleep is fact or fiction.

Why You Need Your Beauty Sleep

Sleep has a huge impact on skin health. While you sleep your skin gets a chance to recover from the stresses of the day and regenerate. Just like your other organs, the skin can relax, entering into a regenerative mode, where the magic happens. Damaged or dead skin cells are replaced with new ones. We are constantly exposed to pollution, and UV rays throughout the day, so this ‘downtime’ is important for your skin.

During sleep, the brain increases the production of molecules called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). These are energy storage molecules that are responsible for powering almost all the biochemical reactions within body cells. These ATP molecules are essential for the restoration and regeneration of skin cells.

When we sleep there is also an increase in blood flow, and collagen and hormone production. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol fall at night, allowing collagen and growth hormone levels to rise. As cortisol normally has an inhibitory effect. Collagen is responsible for the elasticity and strength of your skin. 

What happens to your skin while you sleep?

In the first three hours of sleep, your body will start producing the human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This is necessary for the maintenance of skin health, promoting cell repair and regeneration. Without this hormone release, skin is not repaired from daily damage and induces the aging process.

In the middle two hours of sleep melatonin is increased, the hormone responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm. Melatonin also acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radicals that cause skin damage

In the final three hours the active REM sleep stage levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) decrease. During this time the temperature, of your skin drops to its lowest point. This allows muscles to relax and become immobile, allowing your skin its deepest recovery of the night.  

Beauty Sleep Fact or Fiction. Stressed woman unable to sleep

Beauty sleep fact or fiction? What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? 

Your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. Excess amounts of cortisol have been shown to break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. This results in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines are more pronounced. Chronic poor sleep is associated with increased signs of intrinsic aging, diminished skin barrier function and lower self-satisfaction with appearance.

Sleep loss also causes the body to release too little human growth hormone (HGH). HGH promotes growth when we are young. As we age, HGH helps to increase muscle mass, thicken skin, and strengthen bones. HGH is a great healer of the body, which surges at night.

When you get inadequate sleep regularly, your skin becomes increasingly dull, as the skin ages rapidly with lower cell regeneration. In addition, sleep deprivation can lead to increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol. An increase in cortisol causes inflammation further stressing the skin, triggering potential outbreaks of acne. Existing skin conditions, such as eczema, and psoriasis can be further exacerbated. 

“It’s during deep sleep – what we call slow-wave sleep, that growth hormone is released, It seems to be part of normal tissue repair – patching the wear and tear of the day.

 — Sleep expert Phil Gehrman, PhD.

Lack of adequate sleep can also lead to a reduction in Melanocortin levels, making the skin appear pale and lifeless. Wound and bruise healing slows down and scarring also takes longer to resolve.

How the lack of sleep affects your skin

A recent Swedish study showed redder, more swollen eyes, dark circles, and paler skin after missing a night’s sleep. This study also found that sleep-deprived people were perceived to look sadder than they did after a good night’s sleep.

A 2023 Research Study notes the link between insufficient sleep and compromised skin health. Underscoring the significance of prioritising sleep for a radiant complexion and optimal skin function.

Lack of sleep affects the moisture levels in your skin, decreasing them and also lowering your complexion’s pH levels. When the skin’s pH levels drop, this creates an imbalance, and the skin is unable to produce adequate moisture. Dry skin leads to a compromised skin barrier function which may trigger breakouts.

Are you stressing about your lack of sleep?

Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which can lead to abnormalities in skin structure and function! When you are stressed skin tends to break out more. This is due to the increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which signals glands to produce more oil. The resulting oily skin is more prone to acne and other skin issues. Stress aggravates psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema and can cause hives and rashes. At this point, we are even more stressed it is important to not let this get on top of you. Have to read our free guide “How to Manage Stressed Skin” Download Holistic Skincare Guide

How long should I be sleeping?

Dr. Matthew Walker notes in his book Why We Sleep. “Sleep is a powerful elixir of wellness and vitality, dispensed through every conceivable biological pathway.” The recommendation is to allow yourself the opportunity for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

In this article, I have focused on how lack of sleep can affect the health of your skin. However sleeping less than six or seven hours a night has serious health consequences:

  • Demolishes your immune system
  • More than doubling your risk of cancer
  • Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease
  • Inadequate sleep. Even moderate reductions for just one week disrupt blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic.
  • Insufficient sleeping. Increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle. This outs you on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
  • Sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.


So is beauty sleep fact or fiction? After reading this list it is easy to comprehend that the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span. The recommendation is to allow yourself the opportunity for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Going to bed and waking at the same time each day.

The change of routinely getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night has been profound. Is beauty sleep fact or fictionFACT! I feel my long-term health outcomes are greatly improved because of it. I make time at the end of my day to practice diaphragmatic breathing to calm my nervous system. (our free Holistic Skincare Guide explains how to do this.) My evening self-care ritual of applying skincare is very beneficial for settling my body and mind ready for sleep.

My final step is always applying the ultimate “Calm Balm”. NADI Innate Flow Quell Balsam, either to my face or neck and decolletage and/or hands. Wherever I feel I need some extract TLC. I find the aroma calming and grounding and I always enjoy the skin feel – ceramides are pure skin joy!

Until next time, be human, be kind, be you.

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NADI Innate Flow Quell Balsam - the perfect sleep aid for skin and mind. The ultimate "calm balm"



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