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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > February 2019 > BE A SLEEPING BEAUTY


When it comes to your beauty routine, sleep may be the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. Being deprived of it takes an obvious toll on our faces, and it’s time to remedy that, says Leah Hardy

HOW DID YOU SLEEP LAST NIGHT? Did you sink into a peaceful slumber and wake eight hours later with a rested, rosy glow? Or did you head to bed too late as you finished chores, caught up with that must-watch serial or checked your emails, only to sleep fitfully and wake up feeling – and looking – exhausted?

If you’re one of the many struggling to get enough shut-eye, you’ll know one of the first places it shows is on your face. Even getting two hours less sleep than you need has been proved to make a shockingly visible difference. A 2015 study showed that women who slept six hours a night for five nights had up to double the number of fine lines and wrinkles – and up to three-quarters more brown spots in the form of dark circles under their eyes – than women who slept just an hour or two longer. And this was no fluke: Swedish research found that after just a single night of five hours of sleep, people had redder, puffier eyes with dark circles and sagging lids, more wrinkles around the eyes, and a droopier, more down-turned mouth.

When researchers showed pictures of sleep-deprived people to observers, they were rated as looking less healthy, more tired and less attractive than those who’d slept longer.

What happens to your skin when you sleep?

By day, your skin is busy defending itself from UV rays and pollutants. But at night, it focuses on repairing itself. ‘The skin has its own circadian rhythm,’ says Janette Ryan, international training manager for Vichy. ‘Cell regeneration is highest between midnight and 1am. There’s an increase in blood flow within the skin between midnight and 4am, which provides nutrients to the cells and removes toxins. There’s an increase in skin exfoliation at this time, too.’

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About Healthy Food Guide

Improve your gut health with our top 10 dietitian tips, plus gut-friendly recipes. Get the latest on low-carb diets for diabetes, and find out why your doctor could prescribe ditching the pills in favour of exercise. We celebrate Chinese New Year with super-quick veggie recipes and give you a taste of gut-calming low-FODMAP meals. And don’t miss the chance to win a foodie glamping weekend at Valley Fest!