Wrinkles Can Also Form in Your Sleep: Here’s All You Need to Know About It

Wrinkles Can Also Form in Your Sleep: Here’s All You Need to Know About It

Wrinkles Can Also Form in Your Sleep: Here’s All You Need to Know About It

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Just one night of poor sleep can result in noticeable effects like swollen eyes, darker under-eye circles and increased wrinkles and fine lines. 

30th May 2024

By Sukhmani Kooner 

Wrinkles can develop due to various reasons, including getting older, spending too much time in the sun, smoking, not drinking enough water, making the same facial expressions frequently (like smiling or frowning) and even how you sleep.

Ageing is a natural process that affects the skin’s elasticity and strength, primarily due to a reduction in elastin and collagen fibres. This decline leads to the formation of wrinkles, compounded by the thinning of the subcutaneous fat layer beneath the skin, resulting in sagging. Sun exposure exacerbates this process, being the primary cause of skin damage and wrinkling. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation prompts the formation of free radicals, damaging elastin fibres and contributing to wrinkles and other skin irregularities like brown spots and red blotches. 

Fair-skinned individuals are particularly vulnerable to UV-induced changes. Smoking accelerates wrinkle formation, with fine lines, especially around the mouth, being most common among smokers. Facial expressions such as squinting and frowning, when frequent, can also contribute to the development of wrinkles, notably crow’s feet around the eyes and deep forehead lines. To mitigate these effects, protective measures such as wearing sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure during peak hours and quitting smoking are recommended.

A Good Night’s Sleep to Fix Your Skin:

A lack of quality sleep can quickly manifest in visible changes on your skin, with research dating back to 2013 highlighting its immediate impact. Just one night of poor sleep can result in noticeable effects like swollen eyes, darker under-eye circles and increased wrinkles and fine lines. 

Even more concerning is a 2017 study which demonstrated that just two days of sleep restriction can negatively influence perceived attractiveness, health and trustworthiness. Beyond the immediate consequences, poor sleep habits can lead to more permanent skin issues. 

Understanding that sleep is crucial for the body’s repair processes, including the skin’s regeneration of collagen and repair of UV damage, underscores the importance of quality rest. Additionally, the prolonged contact of your face with its surrounding environment during sleep further emphasises the significance of getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night for maintaining healthy skin.

Poor sleep not only accelerates skin ageing but also hinders its ability to recover from environmental stressors like sun exposure, leading to diminished skin quality. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep consistently, prioritising rest even during occasional off days. Establishing a bedtime routine, such as using wearable fitness trackers to monitor sleep patterns, can aid in achieving optimal rest. Additionally, incorporating skincare habits before bedtime is crucial. Cleansing your face thoroughly removes dirt and makeup, preventing pore-clogging irritants from causing skin damage overnight. Hydration is key; while drinking water helps, using a nighttime moisturiser or sleeping mask locks in moisture, replenishing the skin’s hydration levels. 

Pay attention to sleeping posture and bedding materials; sleeping on your back or using silk pillowcases minimises skin irritation and reduces the risk of developing wrinkles from compression. Elevating your head during sleep improves blood flow, reducing under-eye bags and circles. Lastly, safeguard your skin from sun exposure while sleeping by utilising blackout curtains or positioning your bed away from direct sunlight. These proactive measures ensure that your skin receives the care it needs during the crucial overnight hours, promoting a radiant and healthy complexion.

However, along with quality sleep, wrinkles can be minimised by sleeping in the correct posture:

Sleeping on your side or stomach subjects the facial skin to greater pressure and compression compared to sleeping on your back. Gravity forces the face to press against the pillow, leading to stretching, squeezing and distortion of the skin as you shift positions during sleep. This continuous movement and pressure exertion result in facial skin being crushed and pushed in different directions, potentially causing damage and distortion.

Regularly changing sleeping positions or opting to sleep on your back can reduce the external pressures exerted on your face during sleep. Physicians can discern which side individuals sleep on by examining their facial features. Sleep wrinkles observed on younger faces are transient and typically disappear upon waking.

Over time and with repeated occurrences, temporary sleep wrinkles have the potential to become permanent. Ageing diminishes the skin’s elasticity and flexibility, making it more susceptible to developing and retaining wrinkles or lines caused by sleeping positions. This reduced ability of the skin to stretch and recoil contributes to the formation of persistent sleep-induced wrinkles that may endure longer with age.

The rate and distribution of sleep wrinkle formation are additionally influenced by factors such as the duration of time spent in specific sleeping positions, the intensity of external pressures applied to different facial areas and the extent of contact with the pillow surface. Dermatologists often possess the expertise to discern these patterns. Those who habitually favour one side during sleep commonly exhibit more prominent sleep lines and a relatively flattened facial profile on the preferred side.

How to avoid them?

To sum up, there are various strategies to prevent sleep wrinkles. These involve enhancing skin elasticity through skincare interventions that boost collagen production. Hyaluronic acid, known for its moisturising properties and ability to stimulate collagen synthesis, can delay wrinkle formation. 

Silk pillowcases offer a solution by minimising pressure and friction on the skin, thereby reducing the likelihood of wrinkles. Additionally, adopting a back-sleeping position and moisturising the skin before bedtime can help mitigate the development of sleep-induced wrinkles. Embracing healthy lifestyle habits like quitting smoking, staying hydrated, consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and probiotic foods, as well as consistent sunscreen use, can also contribute to wrinkle prevention.