How does fatigue affect the skin?

While the importance of sleep has always been common knowledge, last year Ariana Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution caused a stir when she brought to our attention just how little rest the average person receives in today’s modern world. As well as its impact on our mood, health, social and personal life, lack of sleep can also wreak havoc on our skin. In fact, a 2013 study found that the faces of sleep-deprived individuals were perceived as having darker circles, paler skin and more fine lines/wrinkles as well as an increased ‘droopiness’ around the corners of the mouth. But just how is a lack of sleep causing these effects?

Your body needs sleep in order to repair.

During a deep sleep cycle, an adult produces Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which helps to develop stronger skin and bones. We need this to ensure we reach our most beneficial state of reparation. When you don’t receive adequate rest, the body can no longer maintain its physical homeostasis (the natural state of balance). The result is a body that cannot heal and regenerate effectively and, as we all know, some of the first signs that something isn’t right internally appears externally on our skin. Read on to discover four ways in which inadequate sleep can affect your skin. There’s no detox: We are constantly exposed to environmental pollutants throughout the course of the day. It’s during sleep that our body can get to work on disposing of these harmful toxins. In fact, research has shown that our brain can become 60% more efficient at disposing of toxins whilst we sleep. When our body is denied that opportunity to get rid of pollutants, they remain in our bodies wreaking havoc on our health and well-being and revealing themselves through dull and blemish-prone skin. Puffiness: Throughout the day, our body naturally accumulates fluid. Some we expel via perspiration and urination, and some we retain. Our body relies on its time of rest each night to properly remove these excess fluids. Having disturbed or minimal sleep means we are not getting to the point where this fluid is removed. Tip: Sleeping with your head elevated slightly can aid in draining any fluid from the face and eye area. Lack of pH balance: Believe it or not, a lack of sleep can severely affect the skin’s pH levels. When pH levels are low, it inhibits our body’s moisture levels. This results in a dull, dry and tight feeling skin rather than the healthy, radiant glow that we all want. Furthermore, an imbalance can lead to other skin concerns such as redness and breakouts. This is because our sebaceous glands can try to compensate for the lack of moisture and end up over-producing oil leading to a build-up and blockage within the pore. Your body is stressed: There are no two ways about it: if you are not getting enough rest you will find yourself running on empty. When you’re tired, your brain reads it as ‘stress’ and that prompts the body’s adrenal gland to start releasing cortisol – our stress hormone. Whilst cortisol plays an important role in our body (it works to shut down non-vital processes during our fight or flight response so that the body can focus purely on survival), it is not meant to be produced on a consistent basis. Our body cannot run at full capacity and be producing cortisol. Over time, cortisol can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin which help give our skin its firmness and suppleness. Furthermore, stress and fatigue have also been shown to lead to a sallow complexion. This is because it can disrupt our production of melanin – which is responsible for the pigment of our skin! Sleep is so important, not just for our overall health, but for the health of our skin. When we are well rested, our skin looks vibrant and restored. To achieve – and maintain – optimum skin health it’s crucial to give your skin the rest it needs to repair and rejuvenate and feed it with natural and nourishing ingredients like those in the griffin+row five-step routine.