There are endless benefits to a full night’s sleep and even more benefits to a regular, healthy sleeping schedule. As with diet and exercise, your skin reflects the health of your sleep cycle. Beyond dark circles under the eyes lack of sleep quickly results in dull skin with depleted elasticity. Therefore, a sleep plan is just as important as a nutrition plan or an exercise plan.
Circadian rhythms are the internal bio-clock which controls the sleep and wake cycles of the body. This cycle is important for energy, immunity, aging, and even the skin. The circadian rhythm regulates the function of cells, specifically the daily regeneration of the skin’s stem cells.
Sleep patterns are vital to skin health because they trigger the secretion of melatonin which protects the skin cells from UV Rays. Melatonin acts as an antioxidant and aids the maintenance of the epidermal barrier. The circadian rhythm is linked to a structure called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus which consists of 20,000 nerve cells. The activity pattern of these cells and the circadian rhythm is related to the amount of sensory information from the eyes. The amount of information from the eyes (light) is high during the daytime and low during the nighttime. During light hours, the cells are able to protect themselves from harmful UV rays, fight bacteria and other harmful viruses. During the night, the cells divide (proliferation) and regenerate replacing damaged cells with new cells. Cells regenerate at night when they are not vulnerable to DNA mutations from the sun. Fully functioning stem cells are necessary for homeostasis as it helps to protect the skin from danger. Researchers believe that changes in the circadian rhythm (such as jet lag and working long hours into the night) might cause changes or failure in the regenerative properties of skin cells to eventually causing aging or tumors.
A lot of modern science has studied sleep patterns and how they affect many functions of the body, skin and overall health. The human sleep pattern can be easily disrupted by blue light, late eating, irregular exercise, and a lot more. However, the sleeping cycle can also be hacked with healthy habits that allow the body to effectively rest. Most people need a solid 8 hours of sleep, but some people have unique sleeping patterns so it is important to do research on healthy sleeping patterns in order to make sure you are giving your skin the rest it needs.