Dr Balaram discusses the impact of sleep on the skin and how sleep deprivation can cause premature ageing.
It has been reported for years that adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night to maintain a healthy mind and body. It is also recommended that we should restrict our use of electronic devices 30-40 minutes before bed so we don't confuse the light sensitive cells in our eyes and stop the production of the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. But many people are guilty of neglecting themselves in the sleep department and letting the pressures of work and play take precedence.
Fewer hours spent sleeping is detrimental to your physical health and has been linked to serious issues including obesity, diabetes, cancer, immune disorders, heart disease and severe depression. Most recently, sleep deprivation has also been linked to damaging the skin, our bodies' most important barrier from external stressors such as environmental toxins and sun-induced DNA damage.
The link between sleep deprivation and common skin complaints has been suspected for years, however, only in a 2013 study at University Hospitals Case Medical Centre did scientists find a direct correlation. This was the first clinical trial of its kind to evidence such findings. The skin's actual appearance is one concern and the emotional impact of less sleep is another.
Just as your body needs food and water, it also needs rest. Sleep is a time the body heals itself, renews and eliminates toxins from the skin. During the hours you spend asleep, your body's hydration rebalances and there's rise in growth hormone as it repairs itself, allowing the skin to recover moisture and for damaged cells to be repaired. Reducing the amount of time you sleep to below the recommended seven hours may result in a chain of health issues as well as causing damage to your skin. Not only will your complexion and aesthetic appearance suffer but also the skin's ability to retain essential moisture and protect you from environmental stressors such as the sun's rays and everyday pollution.
To keep yourself looking and feeling great, it is advisable that you need to stick to a healthy routine of between seven and eight hours sleep every night, ban the TV from the bedroom and make sure all night screens are switched off at least 30 minutes before bed.