It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing. During your nightly shut-eye, while your mind is getting some much-needed rest, your skin is hard at work fighting environmental damage and repairing itself. That’s why nighttime is the best time to step up your skin care—and don’t worry, we’re not talking about adding an endless array of creams and serums to your already hectic routine. Our tips for getting and maintaining a clear, glowing complexion are so easy, you can do them in your sleep—literally.
1. Catch enough zzzs
Getting enough sleep is the number one most important factor of great skin. While you sleep, your skin cells regenerate and blood flow to your skin increases, which is why you wake up with a healthy glow after a restful night. If you’re routinely getting less than 6 hours of sleep (7-8 hours is the sweet spot) you’re not allowing your body adequate time to repair itself, and as a result, your skin will look dull, dry and puffy—not to mention you’ll lose elasticity over time and become more prone to wrinkles.
2. Become a back sleeper
Research shows that the pressure of a pillow against your face night after night can damage precious collagen and eventually lead to permanent wrinkles (sorry side and stomach sleepers!). Sleeping on your back not only keeps those fine lines at bay, it’s also better for your spine and neck health. Hint: If you don’t find the position immediately comfortable, try tucking a pillow under your knees.
3. Wash your face
Whether or not you wear makeup (but especially if you do), it’s essential to remove damaging dirt, oils and impurities that gather on your skin over the course of a day. This will help keep your pores tight and protect your face from breakouts. Clean skin also allows any moisturizers or anti-aging treatments you use to work harder and penetrate more deeply. And for those nights where you’re too exhausted to wash? Cleansing wipes by your bedside will do the trick.
4. Change and launder your sheets often
Ideally you should change your sheets every 7 to 10 days. As you sleep, your body naturally sheds dead skin cells, which accumulate in your bed linens (ick, right?), eventually exacerbating and leading to new breakouts. Regularly washing your sheets eliminates that skin-clogging debris and gives your face a clean place to rest. Plus, who doesn’t love climbing into a bed freshly made with crisp sheets? We guarantee you’ll drift off into dreamland faster.
5. Avoid salt and booze right before bed
As much as we love a good nightcap and a midnight snack, the truth is high-sodium foods and alcohol are your skin’s worst enemies, due to their dehydrating and inflammatory effects. Consuming super-salty foods or alcoholic drinks right before bed can lead to those unsightly under-eye bags we all want to avoid. But because life’s too short, if you do occasionally indulge, we suggest sleeping at a slight angle with an extra pillow under your head to help prevent fluid from pooling under your eyes.
6. Tie your hair back
Leaving your hair loose at night exposes the delicate skin on your face to a host of complexion-destroyers, from conditioner to hair products to natural oils, so make sure to always tie it back before bed. But don’t go overboard. Pulling your locks back too tightly can lead to breakage, especially around the hairline. We recommend using a silk scarf or even a soft scrunchie, if possible—they’re both gentler than a standard hair elastic and won’t leave any annoying indents behind.
7. Turn on the humidifier
It’s no secret that staying hydrated throughout the day does wonders for your skin. But did you know the same goes for night? Since you obviously can’t be guzzling water while you sleep, we’re huge fans of using a humidifier, especially during the winter. When the atmosphere gets too dry, the moisture on your skin evaporates, leaving it dull and dehydrated. Using a humidifier to infuse the air with moisture helps keep your skin looking soft and supple all year round.