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You might be doing everything right for your skin, but still showing signs of premature ageing. You have invested money in good quality skin care, which you employ in a strictly adhered to daily regime. You always apply a broad spectrum sun screen containing zinc and you avoid the sun during the brightest parts of the day. You don’t smoke. You eat well and drink lots of water. What gives?

Chances are that you probably are not getting enough sleep each night. That’s right, that lack of beauty sleep is actually robbing you of your beauty.

New studies are showing just how important adequate sleep is to maintaining radiant and youthful looking skin.

How does sleep deprivation affect you skin?

All throughout the day your skin is being bombarded by harmful UV rays, environmental pollutants and other free radicals. While we are sleeping, our skin cells have the opportunity to repair and rejuvenate themselves. When you deprive yourself of sleep, your body never has the chance to repair itself.

This constant damage will lead to a breakdown in the skin’s collagen and elastin which help maintain a smooth and taut complexion. When collagen and elastin are no longer present in the skin, fine lines will deepen and the skin will begin to sag.

A study conducted at University Hospitals Case Medical Center also discovered that women who weren’t receiving enough sleep were more likely to give a negative self assessment of their own skin appearance. Their counterparts who received enough sleep were far more likely to be pleased with the appearance of their own skin.

And don’t get me started on those unsightly dark circles under the eyes after not enough sleep. Nobody wants to look like a raccoon.

How much sleep do I need?

Every person is different as to the exact amount of sleep that they need. Some people awake refreshed and ready to go after 6 hours while others struggle with any less than 10 hours of shut eye.

A person’s age also determines how much sleep they should be getting. The older we get, we can get by with less sleep.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for between 7 and 9 hours of beauty sleep a night. The important thing is to listen to your body. If you are waking up tired after only 7 hours, bump it up to 8.

Sleep is an important part of your body’s natural defence system. It allows the body time to repair itself and fight off the diseases and free radicals that are trying to harm your body. Do yourself and your skin a favour by getting enough quality shut eye every day.

By Mike Clague