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)