Quality sleep is an important step in treating acne and enhancing overall health. Acneresearch.org guidelines require a variety of lifestyle changes, and first on the list is getting more than 8 hours of sleep every night. The body performs a complex series of maintenance tasks during sleep. Sleep deprivation disturbs these necessary biological tasks, which can lead to acne and a variety of other health conditions.
Japanese scientists tackled the issue of sleep and acne reduction in a questionnaire based study, and found a strong correlation between acne and lack of sleep. Other studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation increases stress levels and reduces immune system function, while diminishing the appearance of physical beauty. Sleep loss has also been proven to lower testosterone levels in young men. This study showed that stress, a proven result of sleep deprivation,leads to acne.
The body of science on the sleep-health connection is vast, and makes a compelling case about the importance of sleep.
Here are guidelines for getting high quality sleep, based on clinical sleep research.
- Sleep for more than 8 hours every night.
- Try to be outside for several hours during the day. The closer to noon, the better.
- Sleep in a completely dark room. Use aluminum foil to darken windows if necessary.
- Go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Don’t rise to an alarm. Go to bed early enough that you can wake up naturally.
- Exercise daily. A long minute walk at sunset will do wonders for your ability to sleep well.
- Set the bedroom temperature to a crisp 67 degrees. A low body temperature aids falling asleep.
- A cold shower before bed is an effective way to lower your body temperature.
- Eat foods that contain tryptophan.
- Avoid alcohol, which inhibits sleep and can lead to nighttime awakening.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. If you cannot abstain, take them first thing in the morning.
Good sleep is not an outright acne cure by itself, but it is impossible to cure acne without good sleep. In other words, bad sleep causes breakouts, whereas good sleep is a single important step in the process of treating acne.
On a personal note, I am a wonderful guinea pig for acne experimentation because I can induce acne with unhealthy behavior and clear my skin with healthy behavior. I can, without fail, generate a few pimples by sleeping for less than 7 hours several nights in a row.