During the day, the skin protects our body from harmful environmental influences and determines our external appearance. At night, it regenerates and lack of sleep is therefore not only detrimental to our health - unfortunately, it can also be seen on us. What exactly happens to our skin during sleep and why a restful sleep is crucial for a healthy and beautiful complexion, you will learn here.
Table of contents
- Atstructure & function of the skin
- Skin & Sleep
- Lack of sleep damages the skin
- How the skin regenerates during sleep
- Support for skin health & beauty sleep
Our skin is one of the most important organs of our body and forms the basis for a well-groomed external appearance. It covers the entire surface of the body, is one of our sensory organs and represents a vital protective barrier that protects the body from numerous harmful influences. Especially during the day, our skin suffers from the effects of light and UV radiation, heat, cold, injuries and infections. Depending on the time of day, the moisture content, the pH value, the temperature and the activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands fluctuate. At night, when we rest and sleep, numerous important regeneration processes take place in our body and the skin also recovers from the harmful influences to which it is exposed in everyday life. Sufficient and also restful sleep is therefore of great importance for the maintenance and care of healthy and strong skin.
Structure & function of the skin
The skin is basically made up of three different layers. They each perform different functions, which are crucial to our health not only externally, but also within the body.
1 - Epidermis (epidermal layer)
The epidermis consists largely of a horny layer and forms the skin's uppermost protective barrier. It is therefore mainly responsible for the defence against harmful substances and pathogens and also provides mechanical protection against impacts, cuts or blows.
2 - Dermis (dermis)
The dermis, located under the epidermis, consists of connective tissue fibers containing collagen, which are responsible for elasticity and firmness. The dermis also contains many blood and lymph vessels, the sebaceous and sweat glands, and numerous nerve fibers, vessels, and muscle cells.
3 - Subcutis (lower skin)
The last layer of skin is composed of loose connective and fatty tissue and separates the skin inside the body from other tissue.
The different layers of skin perform many different functions that are crucial to our health, not only externally but also internally. These include, for example, protection against toxins and harmful radiation or defence against pathogens through the important protective acid mantle. The skin also plays an important role in regulating our body temperature, protects the body from dehydration and high stresses caused by intense heat or cold and, as a sensory organ, is able to feel a wide variety of stimuli (e.g. temperature, pain, pressure). The skin also fulfils important tasks inside the body. For example, it contains important immune cells, forms vitamin D, which is important for the organism, and serves, among other things, to store water, fat and various metabolic products.
In addition to these tasks, which are crucial for our health, our skin is also decisive for our outer appearance. It is therefore quickly apparent from our skin appearance if we are ill or if the body is lacking nutrients. An even, smooth complexion is also considered attractive, which is why our appearance and beauty also benefit from healthy skin.
Lack of sleep damages the skin
During the night, our organism breaks down harmful substances and rebuilds the skin's natural protective barriers, maintains elasticity and tone and regulates the moisture content. Important growth hormones are released, which are involved in almost all functions in our body, help to build up connective tissue and control enzyme production and cell renewal. Lack of sleep disrupts these natural recovery processes and slows down the skin's own repair mechanisms. When we don't sleep enough, the body releases more of the hormone known as "stress hormone" cortisol, which puts the body in a state of stress. Excessive cortisol levels promote inflammation in tissue structures, increase the activity of sebaceous glands and inhibit the body's production of hyaluronic acid. This leads to redness, inflammation and increased wrinkling. The skin also loses firmness and moisture, becomes dry and cracked and appears visibly aged. In addition, cortisol damages the skin's barrier function and leads to an increase in blood sugar, especially in the long term, whereupon the collagen structures harden and the skin's elasticity is reduced.
Lack of sleep is therefore immensely detrimental to our skin's appearance and leaves behind visible consequences in both the short and long term. Our skin loses tone, elasticity and moisture. This leads to the development of dark circles under the eyes or a pale complexion the following day, a reduced function of the defence and protective barrier and a higher susceptibility to injuries. Restful sleep, on the other hand, helps to maintain healthy skin and also counteracts the natural signs of aging.
How the skin regenerates during sleep
Metabolism and cell renewal
During the night, and especially during the deep sleep phases, increased growth hormones are released and the body's own collagen production also runs at full speed. In this way, cell renewal in muscles and connective tissue is driven forward, old cells are broken down, damaged cells are repaired, harmful substances and breakdown products are removed and new cells are built up. During the night our skin is also better supplied with blood, so that the metabolism is improved, the skin cells are more effectively supplied with nutrients and oxygen and the removal of harmful substances is accelerated.
New research also suggests that the sleep hormone melatonin can have a positive effect on our skin. Melatonin functions as an antioxidant and is thus able to neutralize so-called free radicals inside the body and protect the cells from damage caused by these aggressive substances and stress. In addition, it has a positive effect on collagen production and can help to protect the skin from UV radiation and damage caused by it, such as wrinkles or pigmentation marks.
Oil and moisture content
During the day, the skin is exposed to numerous environmental influences, so that the moisture content, the pH value, the temperature and the activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands, which are located in the middle layer of the skin, fluctuate depending on the time of day and the stress. At night, these stresses are absent and the sebaceous gland activity decreases. In this way, deposits in the skin pores are eliminated, the oil content of the skin can be regulated and the moisture stores replenished.
Tautness and elasticity
The body's own substances collagen and hyaluronic acid play an important role in the elasticity and resilience of our skin. Our skin consists of 80% collagen, a structural protein whose fibres support the skin layers and provide firmness. Hyaluronic acid is a main component of connective tissue and is responsible for a firm complexion and the skin's moisture content. Especially during sleep, the production of these important building materials runs at full speed, so that the elasticity of our skin is maintained. This prevents the formation of wrinkles and lines and promotes a healthy and firm complexion.
Support for skin health & beauty sleep
In order to support the skin regeneration overnight, you should pay attention to a sufficient sleep duration on the one hand, but also to a high sleep quality on the other hand. Especially in deep sleep essential growth hormones are released and the most important repair processes are carried out. Find out more about the individual sleep phases here or read our tips for a healthy sleep pattern. Especially before sleep, proper skin care and adequate nourishment are also important to ensure that the skin is clear of impurities and that the body has enough material for cell repair and renewal. The most important and effective tips on how to prepare your skin for sleep and support it in the best possible way can be found in this article.
More about the perfect evening routine and ideal beauty sleep:
The skin consists of three layers (epidermis, dermis, subcutis) and protects the body from harmful environmental factors such as UV radiation, heat, injuries or infections.
A lack of sleep damages the skin, reduces its barrier capacity and impairs a healthy, beautiful skin appearance.
During sleep, the skin recovers and numerous regenerative processes take care of cell repair and renewal, the regulation of the oil and moisture content and the maintenance of elasticity.
Best regards and see you soon!