How Lack of Sleep Can Cause Acne

December 11, 2018 6 min read 0 Comments

How Lack of Sleep Can Cause Acne

 Guest Blog By VeganAcneSufferers 

 

Can sleep deprivation cause pimples? Short answer, yes. I'll explain how.

Just as we need food and water to live, we also need to get a good night’s sleep on the regular. And just like when we don’t eat or drink well, or properly, when we don’t get quality, adequate sleep it affects our mind and our body, as well as our skin. 

Having a good night’s sleep likely just as or even more important as exercising regularly and equally important as having a healthy diet. No amount of skincare can work if you aren't getting enough sleep. 

What Happens To Our Body When We're Sleep Deprived?


Sleep deprivation can actually cause numerous mechanisms to go awry inside our bodies. For example, studies have shown that justa week of poor sleep habits can cause significant alterations in glucose tolerance; impaired glucose tolerance can make you more likely to develop things like diabetes, but they can also lead to acne, as our bodies pump out inflammation in response to insulin spikes.


Sleep deprivation can also affect our cortisol levels; while cortisol has its place by helping our bodies respond to stress so that we don’t become ill, people who don’t have a normal sleep/wake cycle can actually have cortisol levels that are high when they should be low, and low when they should be high. Getting only 4-5 hours of sleep a night can result in heightened cortisol levels in the evening that decrease six times slower in comparison to healthy subjects. These chronically-elevated levels of cortisol can result in inflammation in the body that negatively affects our skin and our overall health.

Why Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Acne?

1. Sleep deprivation can increase the amount of inflammation in our bodies in another way. At night as we sleep, our bodies undergo changes that make for an environment that supports inflammation. When we get adequate sleep, however, this inflammatory state supports the immune system by enhancing the body’s ability to form an initial and long-term immune response. However, when we’re chronically sleep-deprived, the inflammatory state becomes unbalanced and only serves to impede immune function. This is sometimes why we become sick when we've been lacking sleep or why we get more acne.

Whenever we lack sleep, our whole body reacts to it, most especially our skin. Our skin may become red, oily and inflamed, including our back and chest. There are many reasons why sleep is important for our skin. A human body needs time to recover and heal for itself and the stress hormones are down at night when we get a good rest. These hormones that are responsible for calming the nervous system and allowing the natural healing of skin to work is called  cortisol hormones.

2. Lacking the amount of sleep may cause us to feel too tired to make the effort to eat a healthy meal or exercise as we lack the energy or our blood circulation is stagnant. We may not even be able to enjoy the new source of nutrients our skin is getting, hence we get oily skin.

3. Lacking sleep causes us to crave for unhealthy foods such as junk foods, sugary foods and all those kinds that spike up our energy level.

So if you’re thinking of skimping on the sleep to get a little extra work done, think again. Not only will your cognitive function likely suffer, leading to a lower quality of work being produced, but your skin is going to suffer immensely, as well. Sleeping late at night can affect your hormones, performance and brain function as well as increase weight, causing you to be at risk for getting health problems.  A better solution is to get a good night’s rest and tackle any work the following day. Your body and your skin will thank you tenfold.

When we are not able to sleep well, we may not eat well because our mind is not in the right state. Sleeping well enables us to wake up with a clear mind and more energy to come up with healthier decisions, which again is another reason why sleep deprivation can cause pimples. 

9 Tips To Get More Sleep 

1. Stick to a schedule.

A person’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself day and night. Sleeping irregularly and going to bed late on weekends impair one’s sleep quality, thus getting poor sleep.

Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even when you're off - weekends, holidays, etc. When we are consistent with our sleep schedule, it helps to promote a better night's rest. 

2. Don't eat before bed.


It's not a good idea to eat a lot too close to bedtime, as it can keep you awake.This includes late night snack as well. However, don't go to bed starving, either, because you'll toss and turn while you think about food. Eat a light carb-snack like apple slices with peanut butter or carrot sticks and hummus an hour before bed. 

if you are having a large meal, try to eat it at least 3 hours before bed for a good night's sleep and to prevent indigestion or acid reflux. 

3. Drink less caffeine.

Whether it's energy drinks, pop, or coffee, consuming too much caffeine in the day can affect your sleep/wake cycles, especially if you consume them close to bedtime. Opt for a low-caffeine tea, like green tea, instead. 

It is also important to remember that staying hydrated is key. Studies have found a connection between hydration and a restful night's sleep. We recommend reaching for a hydrating collagen drink, like Vital Proteins Collagen Water, for a refreshingly skin-friendly way to up your H2O intake.

4. Create a routine.

If you have a hard time falling asleep even when you're tired, getting into a special "bedtime routine" might help remind your body that it's time to slow it down for the night. For me, this is preparing lunches for the next day, setting out my clothes, washing my face, putting my night guard in, etc. For others, it could be reading a book, taking a bath, etc. 

5. ROLL YOUR WINDOW BLINDS DOWN

Rolling down those window blinds can help you sleep, especially that it is dark in your room. Sleeping with the window blinds up will make you believe that you still need to be active even though you shouldn’t be.

An amount of daily sunlight or artificial bright light can help you improve your sleep quality and duration, especially with those who have cases of insomnia.

6.  GIVE UP THE ALCOHOL

Alcohol consumption at night decreases the natural nighttime elevations in one’s human growth hormone (or HGH – which plays an important role in your circadian rhythm). Consuming alcohol can also alter the production of melatonin and can cause increased symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleeping patterns.

7. SET YOUR BEDROOM TEMPERATURE

 Don’t you know that your body and bedroom temperature can also affect your quality sleep? According to one study, the bedroom temperature is said to affect our sleep quality aside from the external noise. Excessive warmth or coolness of temperature is not good for our sleep quality.

8. REGULARLY EXERCISE, BUT NOT BEFORE YOU SLEEP

 Although exercise may seem like a good idea, performing it late at night can also pose some problems to your sleep. A study shows that due to the stimulatory response or effects of exercise, our alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline increases, making it hard for us to sleep when we exercise too late in the day. However, this still clearly depends on an individual.

9. Do A Relaxation Routine Before Bed

Planning a pre-sleep routine is also good in having better quality sleep.

Some relaxation techniques or strategies include having a relaxing massage, listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing and visualization.


Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night — but if you often have trouble sleeping, contact your doctor. Identifying and treating any underlying causes can help you get the better sleep you deserve.

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About VeganAcneSufferers:

profile veganacnesufferers

I first got acne in high school, and it came back in my early adulthood. I was able to struggle through those difficult times and come out of it a stronger, wiser, healthier person as a result. I'm here to help you do the same thing!

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