What your face can reveal about your sleep

If you’re the type who gets by on a few hours of sleep, layers on the concealer, and pretends to have their life together, a word to the wise: you won’t get away with it forever.

Anyone who takes a close look at your face – and knows what to look out for – will quickly be able to spy the evidence of your rubbish sleep schedule.

Your face really does reveal to the world the state of your sleep, and we’re not just talking about dark circles.

Everything from the side you sleep on to snoring has an effect on the way you look.

So if you’re spending a load of money on skincare but investing little energy into your sleep hygiene, be warned: your fast-paced ways will catch up with you eventually.

Here are some of the ways your face gives away the reality of your rest.

Asymmetry in facial structure and wrinkles

Here’s one of those things that once you notice it, you’ll never be able to stop seeing it in every mirror you pass.

People who sleep on the same side night after night do tend to end up with ‘flattening of one cheek’, says Dr Baldeep Farmah, medical director at Dr Aesthetica.

Just your sleep position could be making your face look lopsided, in terms of volume and the depth of wrinkles.

This can mean you look far older than you really are.

‘In clinic, we assess symmetry and one of the earliest signs of repetitive sleeping on one side is the difference in the cheek bones,’ says Dr Farmah.

‘Patients start to notice nose to mouth lines which are often deeper on the side that is slept on.

‘The cheek is integral to supporting the lower two-thirds of the face and provides an anchor.

‘As the cheek starts to descend, we notice more ageing in the lower third of the face. This can lead to one side looking more aged than the other.’

Chapped lips

If you wake up every morning with dry, chapped lips, that’s likely a sign you breathe through your mouth as you snooze.

That’s a dead giveaway for snoring.

A receding jaw, a short face, and a large tongue

Vik Veer, an ENT sleep surgeon at Royal National Hospital, London says these are ‘tell-tale signs of a person with sleep apnoea’; abnormal shallow breathing that if left untreated can trigger heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, weight gain, and diabetes.

‘Sometimes the tongue is so large or the mouth so small, that there are imprints of the teeth seen on the sides of a protruding tongue which is also known as scalloped tongue,’ says Vic.

Dry, grey-tinged skin

It doesn’t matter how many serums you slather on – if your sleep is rubbish, you’ll never get that glossy glow.

This is because your skin needs a decent amount of high-quality sleep to allow for cell turnover.

‘The amount of sleep you get plays a vital role in the appearance of your skin,’ says Diane Ackers, skincare expert for Doctors Formula.

‘We all know that feeling of having stayed up too late and the result the next day besides the constant yawning is the appearance of lack-lustre or grey tinged skin, lack of a rosy glow and enhanced under eye dark circles.

‘This depends on the quality of sleep we have too, so if we have the balance between light and deep sleep, our brain isn’t thinking overtime, and we’re cosy but not overtly hot or cold, then we’re giving our skin the best fighting chance at repairing itself, waking up looking refreshed and rejuvenated.’

Dark circles

On that note, yes, dark circles are likely caused – or at least worsened – by poor sleep.

While not all dark circles are caused by insomnia, a lack of sleep means the blood vessels under the thin skin of the eyes dilates, making this area look dark and swollen.

More rest will help, as will ensuring that your bedroom is the right temperature – you want it to be cool, but not freezing, and not too warm (no matter how cosy that may feel).

Breakouts

Nope, you can’t keep skipping those bedtime makeup removals without the nasty habit showing up on your skin.

Even if you’re not piling on the foundation, it’s vital you wash your face before bed.

‘Rule number one is never go to bed with your makeup on,’ says Diane. ‘Bacteria breeds on skin throughout the day from touching different surfaces and then touching the face.

‘So even if you’ve not had an ounce of makeup throughout the day, it’s imperative that you cleanse and rehydrate the skin prior to going to bed.

‘When you’re asleep, it’s the optimum time for skin rejuvenation; repairing daytime damage, absorbing active ingredients and potentially making more collagen.’

If you’re not sticking to a decent nighttime routine or getting the sleep you need, blemishes will appear and your face won’t be given the recovery time to, well, recover.

Sticking to your skincare regimen but still getting breakouts? Your phone might be to blame.

Our phonescreens are often covered in all kinds of dirt and grime. Bring your phone to bed and you’ll likely transfer all that bacteria to your freshly-cleaned face or your pillowcases.

Keep the phone away from your sheets, please.

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