The importance of sleep extends to every aspect of your health. However, people fail to recognize how important a good night of sleep really is. If you are one of the many that struggle with skin issues, lack of sleep might be a leading cause of your problems. Stress increases the levels of cortisol in your body. Elevated cortisol levels cause inflammation that can exasperate existing skin conditions. Ironically, exasperated skin conditions can disrupt sleeping patterns. So, even though more sleep can help alleviate skin conditions, better skin can help improve sleep.

Lack of sleep can cause skin problems even if you do not have a pre-existing condition. Allowing inflammation to develop, because of a lack of sleep, can cause more breakouts. This inflammation is also responsible for destroying the elements of your skin that promote a youthful appearance, like collagen.

If you do have a pre-existing skin condition, that is related to an immune problem, inflammation can make this problem even worse. Poor sleep can deregulate an immune system. Skin conditions like psoriasis, which is an immune response, flare when the immune system is thrown into disarray from sleep deprivation.

Stress and inflammation are not the only systems poorly affected by the lack of sleep. Your bodies ability to hydrate is increased with the proper amount of sleep. When you sleep your body takes this time of inactivity to hydrate areas of your body that take more energy to hydrate. Your skin is one of these areas. In addition to hydration, your body uses the time you are sleeping to repair cellular damage. If you do not allow yourself the adequate number of hours for sleep, your body does not have the time (or energy) required to make such repairs. The damage your body and skin receives daily will rapidly build up without the proper amount of sleep to allow for this repair and regeneration.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to damage created by sleep deprivation. The takeaway is that sleep is important to the majority of your body functions, and not just pretty skin. However, your skin is the first place that you notice when you’ve experienced sleep deprivation. Don’t add to the damage your body already needs to repair. Fuel it with the appropriate amount of sleep, starting tonight!