BD investigates: Is beauty sleep real or just a myth?

In this day and age, we’re all living fast-paced and demanding lives, so it’s no surprise that most of us aren’t getting in enough sleep. With our busy schedules at work, endless responsibilities and maintaining a social life, it’s challenging to dedicate enough time to rest and rejuvenate. However, the concept of "beauty sleep" has long been promoted as a remedy for maintaining a youthful appearance and overall well-being. But is there any truth to the idea that sleep can enhance our beauty? We chatted to Emma Merritt, Sleep Expert at Emma Sleep, on whether or not beauty sleep is legit, or just a myth.

BEAUTYDIRECTORY: How much beauty sleep does the average person need?

Emma Merritt: This depends on the individual, but the average recommendation is 7-9 hours per night. The amount of sleep you need can change considerably throughout your life and can also be affected by your lifestyle. For example, elite athletes often need around 9-10 hours to feel fully rested because they burn so much energy during the day. On the other hand, older adults often find that they need less sleep than they used to; this is a natural result of the ageing process. Listen to your body and find a sleep schedule that makes you feel refreshed. 

BD: How can bad sleep affect our appearance?

EM: Lack of sufficient sleep can cause dark circles or bags beneath your eyes, which can give you a tired look, even if you feel alert and ready to tackle the day. When you are not getting enough sleep, your body may start retaining fluid, which can lead to facial puffiness or swelling.

BD: Could you tell us the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep?

EM: During sleep, your body undergoes a natural restorative process repairing and regenerating skin cells. This is vital in reducing the appearance of common signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and fine lines. When you get enough restful sleep, your skin can repair itself more effectively, resulting in a more youthful and glowing complexion. Getting enough sleep is also crucial for maintaining healthy and luscious hair since growth hormones are released during a deep sleep.

BD: So we know it’s important to get enough sleep. The question is, how can someone get a better night’s sleep?

1. Consistency is key! Going to bed and waking up at the same time (within an hour) every day can help you maximise your sleep efficiency and feel more refreshed right from the get-go.

2. Sun exposure during the day boosts serotonin levels, which is one of the chemicals that makes you feel more awake and alert. At night, serotonin is converted into melatonin to help promote sleep.

3. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that offer multi-zone support, temperature control, and breathability.

4. Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep quality.

5. Dedicating a holiday or weekend to sleep is a great way to catch up on rest, especially if you are an exhausted parent. Booking a local staycation is an easy and effective way to enjoy a sleep focus holiday. The Emma Sleep Hotel is designed to educate Aussies on this, highlighting the best sleep routines for the ultimate night of beauty rest.

BD: Lastly, is beauty sleep a myth?

EM: Beauty sleep is definitely not a myth! During sleep, our body undergoes various growth and healing processes that have a significant impact on our appearance: pimples shrink, wrinkles fade, and hair lengthens while we sleep.

Sleep also enhances your emotional wellbeing and ability to manage stress, which can indirectly affect the way you present yourself. One study found that people were less inclined to approach a stranger who looked tired compared to someone who looked well-rested. This highlights the range of unexpected ways that sleep can impact your physical appearance! It is nature’s magic potion.

If you still need help sleeping, try out these products below:

The Body Shop Sleep Bedtime Balm

The Body Shop Sleep Calming Pillow Mist

LUSH Sleepy Body Lotion