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When you don’t get enough shut-eye, you feel like garbage. Your mornings drag, like someone is physically holding you by the shins screaming “moooooooooooooommmmm.” This begins to seem even more hallucinatory if you do not in fact have children, you live alone and who the heck is this ghost child getting between you and your morning coffee?

Lack of sleep is brutal, and it turns out it is just as brutal on your skin. Way back when, on December 14, 2010, John Axelsson of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute revealed his findings regarding beauty sleep in the BMJ. He wrote, “Our findings show that sleep-deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive and more tired compared with when they are well rested. This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep-related facial cues.”

Now, fast-forward to 2015, when top skin expert and dermatologist Dennis Gross reveals more of the science between skin and sleep. He says that while at rest, “skin cells [have] increased mitosis.” What that means is, our skin cells divide in order to repair and replenish. And science corroborates this idea of a rhythmic mitosis, as seen in journals like the PNAS, which found that “daily rhythms in light coordinate many biological functions over the 24-hour day, facilitating the adaptation of organisms to the environment.”

And so, if skin cells live, divide and repair with the help of nutrients, and they do their best work regenerating while you sleep at night, there are a couple of takeaways: you should aim to get a good night sleep (here are some tricks for getting there in five minutes) and you should apply a nutrient-rich face cream or gel (try Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Treatment) or night mask (try Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask) before bed. That way, you’re giving your skin cells a vitamin boost!

And there you have it: the science of beauty sleep. It does exist, it’s not a myth, and it’s not too late to reverse the effects of bad sleeping.

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