I was always told “nothing good happens after midnight” but as a night owl, I’ve found that my best creative ideas come long after the sun sets. Never one to get a full night’s sleep, I’ve found that the older I get, the more sleep I need to be productive throughout the day. Since the majority of the world gets up between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., it’s important to get to bed before midnight—especially if you have a business to run, deadlines to meet, or a 9 a.m. office call time.

There’s a ton of conflicting research that says we should get a full eight hours of sleep per night. Then, there are those lucky people who don’t sleep much, and instead take short naps throughout the day and evening and feel fine and look ok. Personally, I’ve found that developing a healthy sleeping schedule helps the body program itself to get the maximum amount sleep needed for that individual. Sleep expert, Elika Kormeili, MFT of mysleepfix.com suggests doing activities like meditation, journaling, or aromatherapy, to calm yourself emotionally and physically before bedtime. Got it! Makes sense. But what actually happens to your body and skin when you don’t get enough sleep?

I spoke with board-certified dermatologist and director of Aglow Dermatology, Dr. Dina D. Strachan, MD on the subject. “Poor sleep habits can lead to increased stress hormones in the body, this [can] in turn, increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, or eczema,” she shares. It’s clinically proven that a lack of sleep and skin issues can go hand-in-hand and create a vicious cycle. So how do you get to bed earlier? And how will it benefit you? Check out these five doable recommendations to make the most of our zzz’z and enjoy the skin-saving benefits:

1. Create a beauty sleep schedule.

Going to bed early starts with preparation throughout the day and creating a routine that works for your schedule but pushes you to retire earlier. Set a time to go to sleep and a time to wake up. This will allow you to develop consistency and plan the remaining parts of your day. Believe it or not, the term “beauty sleep” actually has truth to it; while you’re sleeping, your body is working from the inside out, rebuilding collagen and hyaluronic acid which can prevent some of the aforementioned skin conditions and dark circles.

THE SKIN BENEFIT: Better and more rested looking eyes. Aside from genetics and allergies, dark circles can be a direct cause of lack of sleep. Dr. Strachan recommends assessing the root cause of your dark circles ruling out effects due to natural aging, allergies, and genetics. When you confirm that none of the aforementioned are the culprits, increase your rest time and see (no pun intended) the results.

2. Make moves (literally) throughout the day.

If you’re not getting enough sleep at night, you are less likely to have energy during the day. However, exerting more energy during the day will cause your body to request and need more rest at night. See the correlation?

THE SKIN BENEFIT: Because your body works from the inside out; an active body promotes healthy circulation and increased blood flow that helps nourish your skin cells.

3. Nix caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes before bedtime.

Many feel that caffeine, alcohol, or cigarettes can help you to relax. These culprits in fact do the opposite, especially when it’s time to sleep. These all act as stimulants, both mentally and physically. Indulging in any of these vices within 4 to 6 hours before bed can interrupt sleep causing you to wake throughout the night. They can also potentially cause night sweats, nightmares, and headaches. Kormeili recommends avoiding all caffeine after 3 p.m. and reducing the consumption of alcohol which will directly reduce dehydration.

THE SKIN BENEFIT: While caffeine and alcohol do not have direct effects on the skin (unless they’re used as an abused substance), cigarette usage over time can. Dr. Stachan reminds that cigarette smoking can age your skin similarly to sunbathing causing you to look much older over time.

4. Turn off your tech devices.

Are you someone who sleeps with the TV on or reads from a tablet minutes before falling asleep? There are a few reasons why you want to consider a new practices—the light from your device can alter alertness and suppress your melatonin levels. Instead, experts recommend that you read printed materials or a book before bed versus on your device. “You should avoid any electronic device up to one hour before bed,” emphasizes Elika.

THE SKIN BENEFIT: Because your body naturally creates melatonin, avoiding any tech before bed will help your body produce the amount of melatonin needed for rest thus resulting in less inflammation and puffiness around the eyes.

5. Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.

You might want to rethink the way your bedroom is set up. Does it feel like a sound slumber haven or just another room in the house? Consider removing the TV, having your pet(s) sleep on the floor, and removing all devices from the side of the bed. Your bedroom shouldn’t be a place to multitask; you want to create a calm environment that will promote relaxation and help you sleep throughout the night. Also, consider the type of sheets and pillows you are using.

THE SKIN BENEFIT: Opt for natural hypoallergenic materials such as loosely woven cotton, silk, or organic cotton that are gentle on the skin and will cause less irritation. Doing so eliminates will decrease the amount of synthetic materials skin is exposed to that can exacerbate skin sensitivity.

Now, who’s ready for some beauty sleep? Like for real! And because we know the right product can always enhance living, consider incorporating these seven, night ritual enhancing, beauty products.

Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $105, Sephora.com

This night oil made with blue tansy, German chamomile, and chia seed oil helps fight the appearance of wrinkles, redness, and pores for clearer, better-looking skin.


Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar, $52, Philosophy.com

Infused with the natural plant extract myramaze, it will help boost your skin’s nightly cell regrowth and improve its ability to fight dehydration and dullness.


Kate Somerville +Retinal Overnight Kit, $89, KateSomerville.com

Nighttime retinol creams are a go to. This one is made with a blend of seaweed extract and bio-derived hyaluronic acid that helps diminish the appearance of fine lines, while evening texture and skin tone.


Erborian Yuza Ritual Kit, $55, Erborian.com

For those with dry skin, this luxe cream helps to hydrate and relieve the feeling of tightness and visible signs of aging.


Guerlain Abeille Royal Night Cream, $182, Guerlain.com

A royal night cream that is full of sunshine nectar by Thierry Wasser, nose of Guerlain, and honey has been proven in internal studies to minimize wrinkles (-25%), increase firmness (+21%), and redefined contours (+23%).


The Estée Edit Late Night Eraser Brightening Eye Balm, $42, EstéeLauder.com

Instantly brighten your eyes with Estée Lauder’s newest under eye balm that’s formulated with pink peony, cucumber, apple, hyaluronic acid and micro-powdered pearls. It soothes and protects, while banishing tired and dull looking skin around your eyes.


Shiseido Beauty Sleeping Mask, $40, Shiseido.com

Launched in early 2016 this sleeping mask is infused with vitamins C and E, phytoplankton extract, and PhytoTarget Complex. It works overnight to build the skin resistance and have it appear brighter, clearer, and more radiant.


By Sam C. Perry