This #selfie of me sleeping with Lucy sums up my sleep life: The smile on my face shows the love. The wrinkles around my eyes show the exhaustion! Not that any crazy busy mom doesn’t already know this, but it’s always satisfying when hard science proves a hunch: A new study conducted by the University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and commissioned by Estee Lauder confirms that sleep deprivation impacts skin function and aging. Restless nights snuggling with your children (whether they’re sick, needy or that’s just how you guys roll), that endless to-do list that your brain decides to run through (again) at 2 a.m., early morning meetings—these all add up to no good, beauty-wise. Sleeping Beauty, I wish!
“Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure,” says Dr. Elma Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The study involved 60 women between the ages of 30 to 49. Those who fell into the poor quality sleep category showed more sluggish recovery from sunburn and other inflammatory conditions, such as redness, as well has a higher rate of transepidermal water loss.
So what are you going to do with this info? Try harder to sleep better.
• Build a nighttime skincare ritual that helps lull you to sleep. Use a night cream that has a comforting scent to help get you in the counting-sheep mind frame. Recently, I loved every drop of Dior L’Or de Vie, $350, but if that’s over your budget, another ultra-calming night cream is Caudalie Premier Cru, $155. Also, help prevent the damaging effects of poor sleep by using a serum that helps repair skin while you sleep. Estee Lauder’s new Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, $62, is designed to help cells increase their natural regenerative process at night.
• Turn off all your digital devices at least an hour before you want to fall asleep—phone, iPad, TV, etc. Be old fashioned and read a magazine! I’d say read a book, but I usually fall asleep as soon as I start to read and feel more satisfied if I get to the end of an article.
• Keep a pad of paper and pen on your bedside table to write down anything that pops into your head. Help your brain let go of things you don’t want to forget to do the next day by jotting them down. I do some of my best thinking at night—solutions to all sorts of problems big and small, shopping lists, kids schedules, blog ideas, etc.— but then I keep myself up worrying that I’ll forget it all! Writing them down helps me let go and relax.
• If you’re a wine-o, scale back. The more alcohol you drink, the more likely you are to wake up in the middle of the night. I know, it’s hard. Just try it a few times and you might like it more than you think.