Ahh… sleep! Get enough sleep, and you’ll wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. Do it regularly, and it may help your skin look years younger.
The Three C’s: Cortisol, Collagen, and Cell Turnover
What is Cortisol, and how does it affect my skin?
Cortisol (hydrocortisone) is a hormone which is produced by the body in response to stress. Strong and immediate links have been found between sleep deprivation and increased levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been linked to breakdown and dysfunction in every tissue in the body, including the skin. By controlling cortisol, we can slow down the skin’s aging process, treat and prevent skin problems, and promote radiant, healthy skin.
Where does Collagen come in?
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, and the chief structural component of skin tissues, is what gives your skin its elasticity, wards off lines and wrinkles, and is about the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. A child’s skin derives its shine and smoothness from the abundance of collagen and elastin that exists in the body. Starting in our mid-twenties, collagen production begins to decrease, and elastin, the substance that enables skin to snap back into place, has a bit less spring. Loss of collagen makes the skin thinner and not as resilient.
Besides the largely unavoidable decrease in collagen production that naturally accompanies aging, high levels of cortisol have also been found to cause substantial destruction of collagen. Conversely, getting sufficient sleep has been linked to increased production of human growth hormone, which in turn stimulates increased collagen production.
What about Cell Turnover?
Your skin constantly renews itself. When you are young, the cell renewal process is completed within 20-28 days, but as you grow older, this process slows down, taking as much as 40 days, or even more. This matters because the accumulation of dead skin cells makes the skin look dull, whereas getting rid of them helps soften wrinkles and brighten skin, and results in a clearer, smoother, more even-toned skin.
The great thing is – while you sleep, your body is hard at work repairing itself. Cell turnover is as much as ten times faster when you’re asleep than is it during the daytime. Too little sleep, and your cell renewal process will take much longer than it would otherwise.
Continue reading Step 2: The Importance of Fresh Air and Exercise