Like Dr. Maiman said, sleep deprivation can potentially lead to premature signs of aging, like wrinkles and crepey skin. While getting a good night’s sleep can help avoid this, there are some additional steps you can take to give your skin an assist. First, avoid sleeping on your stomach when you can. “Placing your face directly on a pillow causes friction and pressure on the skin,” Dr. Maiman said. “Not only does that increase one’s proclivity to wrinkle, it impairs blood flow and thus impairs optimal repair.” In case this is a hard-to-quit habit, consider swapping out your cotton pillowcases for silk ones — this can help minimize the trauma to your skin.
If you have a daytime skin-care routine, you need one for the nighttime, too. “The best ingredients to incorporate at night are those that facilitate cellular turnover, as this will amplify the regenerative processes happening naturally while you sleep,” Dr. Maiman said, specifically calling out ingredients like retinol and AHAs (think: lactic and glycolic acid). “It’s also important to note that the stratum corneum undergoes circadian rhythm changes, with skin permeability being higher in the evening than in the morning. This equates to improved absorption of products, but has the downside of meaning skin is drier and at greater risk of being dehydrated.” To avoid increased dryness, consider products that include hyaluronic acid and ceramides to maintain and retain moisture while you sleep. Even if you tend to get a healthy amount of sleep but still suffer from seasonal dehydration, look for humectants, like urea or glycerin, that can help draw water from lower layers of the skin, so it actually looks refreshed and bouncy in the morning.
But before you slather on the heaviest creams you can find, be sure to wash your face first. Even if you didn’t wear makeup, your skin still needs to be cleansed of oil, dirt, pollutants, and harmful free radicals that may have gathered on the skin during the day. An oil-based cleanser or micellar water can help to prep skin before massaging in any retinol serums or ceramide creams. Try even just one of these sleep-friendly tips and woke-up-like-this skin will no longer be your wildest dream.