What’s New in Sleep and Beauty Research? A HealthCentral Explainer

ATsai Editor
  • Sleep is an important part of our lives, and for many people, so is looking youthful. In some cases, these things may be related.  Here are some of the most recent studies on sleep and beauty.


    Is poor sleep aging your skin?

    New research from University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland has found that poor sleepers show increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from environmental stressors. In addition, poor sleepers thought their own skin and facial appearance looked worse, compared to good sleepers’ assessments of their own skin appearance.


    Researchers looked at 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49, and half of them qualified as poor sleepers, based on a sleep quality index questionnaire. The study also involved a visual skin evaluation and several non-invasive skin challenge tests, such as UV light exposure and skin barrier disruption. Participants also filled out a sleep log for one week.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    Using the SCINEXA skin aging scoring system, researchers measured signs of aging in the participants, and found that poor sleepers showed more fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. They also found that good sleepers recovered more easily from stressors to the skin, such as sunburn and redness. Lastly, they found that people with poor sleep had a higher body mass index, as 23 percent of good sleepers were obese and 44 percent of poor sleepers were obese.


    Researchers said that poor sleep can accelerate signs of aging and weaken the body’s ability to repair the skin at night.


                [SLIDESHOW: Healthy Diets Can Mean Healthy Sleep]


    Could the full moon be a culprit for bad sleep?

    If you’re someone who doesn’t get quality sleep, you may be justified, at least a bit, to blame the moon. New research published online in Current Biology suggests that a full moon disrupts sleep quality. Researchers analyzed data from more than  30 healthy volunteers in a sleep lab. The brain activity, eye movements and hormone levels in different phases of sleep were measured while they slept. Neither participants nor researchers knew that the data would then be analyzed against moon cycles. In addition, the participants were not able to see the moon from their beds in the sleep lab.


    Researchers found that on nights when  there was a full moon, participants did not sleep as well. During the full moon, they found that brain activity associated with deep sleep fell by almost a third. It also  took participants five minutes longer on average to fall asleep, their total sleep time was 20 minutes shorter, and they showed a drop in melatonin levels.


    Researchers concluded that this response could be a holdover  from ancient times, when human behavior was more directly tied to different phases of  the moon.


    Have you thought about camping to reset your body clock?

    If you are having trouble sleeping, a camping trip might be a good  way to reset your body clock, according to new research from Colorado University, Boulder. The study, published in Current Biology, looked at eight participants with an average age of 30, and monitored their  activity for a week. The second week, they  went camping and wore wrist monitors, which recorded the amount of light exposure, timing of the light, and their  activities, including sleep. They were not allowed to have flashlights or electronic devices during their camping trip. After the two weeks, researchers recorded the participants’ circadian clocks by measuring melatonin.


    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    They found that, on average, the participants’ biological nighttime began two hours later when they were exposed to electrical lighting in their normal lives, compared to camping when they had only  sunlight and campfires. When they weren’t camping, they also woke up before their biological night had ended in their normal lives. While camping, all participants had synchronized sleep patterns with sunset and sunrise, regardless of being a night owl or early bird in their normal lives.


    Researchers say getting more sunlight in the morning or midday could nudge internal clocks to be ready for bed earlier. In addition, dimming electrical lights and skipping TV or electronic use at night could help you stay in sync with natural light and dark cycles.


                [SLIDESHOW: 7 Non-Invasive Beauty Treatments]


    Cosmetic surgery doesn’t make you more beautiful

    If sleep isn’t the problem, cosmetic surgery may take a few years off your appearance, but it won’t necessarily make you more attractive, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. In the study, patients who had facial cosmetic surgery to correct signs of aging were rated as looking three years younger, on average, but they were not rated as looking more attractive.


    For the study, participants were recruited to rate photos of 49 patients, ages 42 to 73, who had undergone facial cosmetic surgery. They were asked to guess the age of the person in the photo and rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to 10. Nobody saw both the before and after pictures.


    The researchers  found that raters guessed the patient was about three years younger when looking at the after-surgery photos, but most were given attractiveness ratings between four and six, which did not change based on before or after photos.


    Researchers say more studies need to be done, because this one focused on age-related plastic surgery rather than nose jobs and wrinkle and lip injections, which might elicit higher beauty scores. But they also said these results are important to manage the expectations of potential patients.



    University Hospitals Case Medical Center. (2013, July 26). "Sleep deprivation linked to skin aging." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/263880.php


    Paddock, C. (2013, July 26). "Full moon affects not only werewolves but human sleep too." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263966.php


    Ellis, M. (2013, August 4). "Camping could help reset your internal body clock." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264299.php


    Rettner, R. (2013, August 1). “Cosmetic Surgery Subtracts Years, Doesn’t Add Beauty.” LiveScience. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/38621-facial-cosmetic-surgery-attractiveness.html


Published On: August 08, 2013