Does sleep help eliminate wrinkles?

In the question of sleeping helping eliminate wrinkles, the answer seems to be yes and that is where the well known phrase “getting my beauty sleep” comes from. Women notice when not getting enough sleep, same wrinkles develop around the eyes and other areas of the face. Perhaps that is why older adults have more wrinkles as they seem to sleep less than any other age group.

But is there any real science behind the myth of beauty sleep? More and more experts say yes. Scientific studies haven’t looked at how sleep affects appearance directly—for example, the way the lack of it impacts skin renewal—but we do know that our bodies repair cells and tissues while we sleep. Research also supports the notion that poor sleep patterns lead to poor health—and poor health can make us look a little less beautiful.

Sleep contributes as much to our well-being as eating a proper diet and exercising, but the average American adult sleeps less than seven hours a night, compared to nine hours in 1910. Sleeping only five hours a night may change our appearance because of the link between obesity and insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep lowers leptin levels and raises ghrelin, two hormones that regulate appetite, according to a study at Stanford University. Less time sleeping also increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, a health problem linked to weight gain. Studies have shown that everyone needs to sleep properly to metabolize the calories you take in during the day.

There are even sleep spas that are beginning to be marketed. Sleep spas provide a tranquil setting, give people a break from their usual routines and help them identify the unconscious patterns that contribute to troubled sleep.

As you would expect, a sleep spa experience feels more like a retreat at an expensive hotel than a typical doctor’s visit. And the fees look as if, only the rich and famous can afford them. At one spa, for example, you can order a sleep enhancement/insomnia relief package; a snoring/sleep apnea evaluation; or an all-night polysomnography (a formal overnight study) to assess problems such as multiple awakenings, snoring, sleep apnea, and daytime sleepiness. For anywhere from $140 to $2,275, a staff of sleep professionals will attempt to understand your every sleeping problem.

Cosmetic and toiletry brands have gotten in on the act too, launching an array of products to lull you into lullaby land. Although few of these have been tested for effectiveness, many contain lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), a proven treatment for insomnia, according to recent studies. There are also different varieties of mattress, bedding and pillows all marketed to better sleep.

It seems that adults are having to relearn healthy sleep habit such as sleeping on a schedule, avoiding big meals before bedtime, turning off all lights, computers, and blinking Blackberries. The sleep hormone melatonin is sensitive to even low levels of light. More suggestions are also getting regular exercise and winding down with a warm bath, quiet music, a book or a few yoga stretches, just before you climb into bed, or getting a short nap in the afternoon. In fact, in Mexico, in the afternoon, everything shuts down for several hours so everyone can get a “siesta”, or nap.

So, yes, enough sleep can help with wrinkles as well as other symptoms of aging. Catching enough z’s may not be easy, but it’s one of the best—and cheapest (when you do it at home) —ways to enhance your health and, consequently, your appearance.