Bad Sleep Is Ruining Your Skin! (Just Like Everything Else)

man having trouble sleeping

Probably has a tiny peen, too!

Every day science is finding new things we do that ruin our otherwise permanently sexy appearance. You smoke? You might as well wear a bridge troll costume to work. You drink coffee? Your teeth are black and your blood pressure is sky high! You consume a glass of red wine a day? That’s either going to make you live forever or causing every kind of cancer. Jury’s still out.

Anyway, Estee Lauder commissioned a recent study that found sleep quality impacts “skin function,” along with aging and general appearance. Their findings actually sound pretty extreme.

First of all, the sixty participants were women ages 30-49. They were split into two categories: good sleepers and bad sleepers (with the distinguishing characteristic being “average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality). Several non-invasive skin tests later–from a simple visual analysis to UV light exposure–the researchers had some startling results:

Poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. They found no significant difference between the groups in signs of extrinsic aging, which are attributed primarily to sun exposure, such as coarse wrinkles and sunburn freckles.

The researchers found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from stressors to the skin. Recovery from sunburn was more sluggish in poor quality sleepers, with erythema (redness) remaining higher over 72 hours, indicating that inflammation is less efficiently resolved.

Since we’re already being reminded to sleep more–so we don’t look old!–the researchers also found that poor sleepers were fatter:

Additionally, poor quality sleepers were significantly more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). For example, 23% of good quality sleepers were obese compared to 44% of poor quality sleepers. Not surprisingly, self perception of attractiveness was significantly better in good quality sleepers (mean score of 21 on self evaluation) vs. poor quality sleepers (mean score of 18).

While we normally roll our eyes at studies conducted by companies with a stake in the results, we don’t really understand how Estee could monetize our bad sleeping habits. So, okay. Sleep better next time?

Of course, we doubt that any survey like this in the history of surveys has ever influenced someone to actively seek out better quality sleep. If anything, knowing that our shitty sleep habits contribute to poor skin (and weight gain!) just gives us another thing to worry about as we lay awake at night.

(Science Newsline, photo via Shutterstcok)

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    • Magda Nunez

      Wow! They should have totally included me in their study! I would have given them the exact results they were looking for because, I am 1) a shitty sleeper 2) I have awful skin, and last but not least, 3!) I am fat.

      But seriously though, on my own, without any scientific skills besides that of informal observation, I’ve noticed that when I am sleep deprived (like less than 5 hours) for a string of days, I get really gnarly break outs. And then I must hide my face in shame… And reevaluate my life choices.

      • Teddy

        The male model in this particular article just informed me that he doesn’t have a ‘Tiny Peen’ – I know the photographer who took this image- he laughed when he read this article!

    • Alexis H

      This is something I’ve noticed recently! Last week I averaged longer sleep times than normal and I swear my clothes are fitting better now and I look a few years younger. All could think was that those stupid lady mag advice columns have been right after all! Too bad I won’t be able to keep this sleep schedule up.

    • Cee

      I’m a very crappy sleeper. If I am lucky, I turn in at 4am (Yea!) My skin is shitty but I have lost 4 pounds and don’t eat as much as before my insomnia got crazier. Mixed results?