Does lack of sleep cause acne?

The link between the lack of sleep and acne

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We need sleep, just as much as we need air or food. It is something your body needs, think of it as maintenance time. It affects the mind and body, and if you do not get enough sleep, they are equally affected. Lack of sleep, also known as sleep deprivation can lead to acne and other health problems. Sleep deprivation is more about the quality of your sleep than the time you sleep. That explains why some can sleep 5 hours a night and wake up feeling rested and energized while others can sleep 10 hours and wake up tired and feel drowsy all day.

Can sleep deprivation lead to acne?

A look at the importance of sleep

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Sleeping or a lack thereof impacts your body in different ways. Your body heals and recharges itself while you sleep. Sleeping habits can make or break the state of your skin. There are various sleep factors that affect your skin.

Sleep Deprivation

Lack of sleep has some consequences which can result in acne. One of them is weakening your immune system. This leaves you susceptible to bacteria that inevitably cause acne. Another is inflammation. Your body produces a stronger inflammatory response when you lack sleep. This makes even small pimples turn into big, red ones. Sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance. When this happens, it raises the turnover rate of your skin cells, meaning more dead skin cells will block your pores, and this can end up as acne.

Sleeping Late

Our internal clock is in tune with nature’s night-and-day clock. It naturally slows down when it gets dark, telling your body to get some rest. There are healing processes that take place when we sleep. Between 11 pm to 2 am, the body detoxifies and makes major repairs. If we are not asleep by then, we miss the natural healing that our body does. This can weaken our organs, including our skin which will eventually break out and cause acne if we don’t allow ample time for it to rejuvenate itself.

Quality of Sleep

Sleeping longer doesn’t equate to quality sleep. Sleep has five stages. The fifth stage is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep where sleeping is at its deepest. You need about two hours of sleep to reach REM. If you don’t reach it, your sleep is shallow, and you won’t feel rested. Your body cannot keep up with the day’s activities if you don’t get quality sleep. This, in turn, affects your skin because it needs to recoup from the stress and exposure to various elements throughout the day. It needs to relax. Not getting quality sleep eventually leads to poor skin health which results in the accumulation of acne.

Why You Need Sleep?

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Clinical and scientific research shows that adults require about 7-9 hours of sleep. Studies show that even 6 hours can have an added risk link to stroke and other inflammatory issues. Why is sleep so vital for the human body? The energy resources that the brain requires have some by-products. It is like driving a car; you burn up fuel that inevitably leads to exhaust. During sleep, the brain can clean up the toxins. This only happens during sleep. Likewise, the skin has its circadian clock, and nighttime is the best time to repair damage and rebuild cells and tissues.

How sleep affects the skin?

During sleep, cell division rates increase, and the skin heals damage from the day while cortisol levels decrease. As we slumber, various hormones are secreted to help renovate and repair the body. All hormones have a pattern, day to night. Disruptions in the sleep cycle can result in elevated cortisol levels which can lead to inflammation, improper healing, and maladies like acne, and rosacea. It spurs the adrenal glands into over producing cortisol, a steroid, which in turn makes the sebaceous glands make more oil leaving the extra skin oily. Melatonin is released during sleep, and it is a natural antioxidant. It scavenges for injury that can hurt skin cells. While lack of sleep alone might not trigger acne, it can exacerbate the probability of getting it when combined with other factors like genetics and poor diet.

When should you go to sleep?

The time you go to bed is also important for proper rejuvenation, aim to sleep around 10 or 11 P.M. Growth hormone is released during the first three hours of sleep but secretion falls at 2 A.M. so ideally if you fall asleep by 10 or 11 P.M. to get the most restorative capabilities.

Consequences of not getting enough sleep

Not getting ample sleep or having difficulties while sleeping can:

  • Make you more susceptible to pimples as the body lacks enough time to repair itself. It can also contribute to worsen acne and other skin problems
  • Cause you to consume too much or consume unhealthy foods like sweets and fried foods that lead to weight gain and breakouts.
  • Increase the effects of alcohol and possibly up the use of caffeine and nicotine which are not good for the skin.

But how can you know that you are getting the right amount of sleep? Here are some questions to ponder. Do you:

  1. Feel like you could use more energy?
  2. Often wake up drowsy and tired?
  3. Have difficulties falling asleep?
  4. Have difficulties staying awake without taking caffeine or other stimulants?

Chances are your sleep could be the reason you struggle to cure your acne if you answered yes. Most people don’t get the full benefits of sleep because they have poor quality sleep. So instead of sleeping more, you need to improve the quality of your sleep. When you master maximizing the different stages of sleep and balance your inner sleep clock, you can say goodbye to your sleep issues. You will get the full advantages of good sleep and wake up refreshed and energetic and also fight acne.

Ways to Get Quality Sleep

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Try and keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Getting in sync this circadian rhythm is one of the most important strategies for better quality sleep. If you keep a regular schedule, you’ll feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same amount of hours at different times, even if you only change your sleep cycle by an hour or two.

Try sleeping and getting up at the same time every day

This helps set your internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. 

Avoid sleeping in; even on weekends

The more your sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you will experience. If you want to make up for a late night, go for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This lets you pay off your sleep debt without disrupting your sleep rhythm.

Be clever about napping

While napping is a good method to make up for lost sleep, if you have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, napping could worsen the situation. Limit naps to about 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon.

Control your exposure to light

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, whose secretion is controlled by light exposure helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy and less when it’s light, making you more alert. However, several aspects of modern life can change your body’s generation of melatonin and change your circadian rhythm.

How to control your exposure to light

During the daytime:

  • Allow bright sunlight into your bedroom in the morning.
  • Spend more time outside.
  • Let in as much natural light as you can into your home or workspace. 

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television. Instead, try listening to music or audiobooks.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices like phones or tablets.
  • When it’s time to sleep, ensure the room is totally dark.
  • Keep the lights dim if you get up during the night. 

Exercise during the day

People who exercise often sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise improves insomnia and sleep apnea symptoms and raises the amount of time you spend in REM sleep. The more tedious you work out, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise; like walking for just 10 minutes a day can improve sleep quality. It can take some months of regular exercise before you feel its full sleep-promoting effects. So be patient and concentrate on building an exercise habit that sticks.

For better sleep, time your exercise right

Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body heat, and stimulates hormones like cortisol. This doesn’t pose a problem if you’re exercising in the morning or afternoon, but too close to the bed, and it can interfere with your sleep. Try to end moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before slumber time. If you’re still experiencing sleep problems, move your workouts to even earlier. Relaxing, low-impact activities like yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.

Be smart about what you consume

Your eating habits during the day play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime.

Limit your caffeine and nicotine intake

  • Avoid taking big meals at night as an upset stomach can affect your sleep.
  • Avoid taking alcohol before bed.
  • Avoid drinking too many liquids at night to avoid waking up to go to the bathroom all the time.
  • Cut back on sugary foods and processed carbohydrates.

Wind down and clear your head

Residual stress, worry, and from your day can make it very hard to sleep well. If anxiety or chronic worrying dominate your thoughts at night, there are steps you can take to learn how to stop worrying and look at life from a more positive perspective. By learning how to manage your time well, productively handle stress, and maintain a calm, positive outlook, you’ll be able to sleep better. The more stimulated your brain becomes during the day, the harder it can be slow down and unwind at night. 

Improve your sleep environment

A peaceful bedtime routine conveys a powerful signal to your brain that it’s time to wind down and let go of the day’s stresses. Sometimes even minute changes can make a big difference to your quality of sleep.

  • Keep your room dark, cool, and quiet
  • Keep the noise down.
  • Keep your room cool.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. 

Study ways of getting back to sleep

It’s normal to wake temporarily during the night, but if you’re having trouble falling back asleep, these tips may help: Stay out of your head. Try not to worry over your inability to fall asleep again, because that will only encourage your body to stay awake. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep. Try a visualization relaxation technique which can be done without even getting out of bed. Do a quiet, non-stimulating task. If you have been awake for more than 15 minutes, get out of bed and do something, non-stimulating like reading a book. Dim the lights and avoid screens so as not to tell your body that it’s time to wake up.Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If you wake up during the night feeling anxious, make a brief note of what is worrying you and deal with it in the morning. Similarly, if a great concept is keeping you awake, make a note of it on paper and go back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive after a good night’s sleep.Your skin will get the perks of getting ample sleep. On the flipside, if you’re sleep deprived, it will also suffer the consequences. Sleep is your biggest health ally. It allows for natural healing and rejuvenation that turn into radiant skin.

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