The dangers of beauty sleep

Home / Aesthetic Medicine / The dangers of beauty sleep
When I was a child I thought my parents told me that I needed to get “beauty sleep” so that they could throw a rip-roaring party downstairs with a pony and a jumping castle and a princess cake while I slept upstairs.  As I got older and started realizing that even Cosmo spoke of the wonders that getting enough sleep could provide I managed to get over my FOMO and took sleep a little more seriously!  It is only recently however, that I have learned that part of “beauty sleep” is not how MUCH you sleep, but also HOW you sleep…and this is where it gets tricky!
If you look at older people you may notice that the lines on their faces are not only caused by expression.  Yes, they have wrinkles they could have targeted with Botox years ago between their brows and around their eyes, but they also tend to have vertical lines on their foreheads, cheeks and even chins that seem to form with no logical explanation, and usually more on one side than the other.  This may not be something you’ve ever noticed or even thought about, but its time you started paying attention if you intend to grow old flawlessly, because those lines are caused by sleep!
If you think about it, we spend on average 8-hours a day asleep.  Some more and some less, yes, but on average its around 8 for most of us.  That’s one third of the day.  That’s one third of your LIFE.  What this means is that unless you are sleeping like a corpse, on your back at all times with nothing touching your face, you are spending one third of your life squashing your face.
Now don’t get me wrong, sleep is hella NB for your beauty.  Not only does it allow gravity to redistribute fluid, plumping up your face that has been drained of fluid all day due to being erect, but it deals with eye bags and skin condition and a whole host of other beauty treats…all you have to do is stay awake for a night or 2 to notice how horrifying you look without sleep!  But then, think of how many mornings a week you wake up with pillow marks on your face!  If you’re not sure whether you are a back- or a side-sleeper (or, heaven forbid, a stomach-sleeper!), waking up with pillow marks is a sure way to tell you have been face-squashing for a significant portion of the night!  Also, take note of how you wake up in the morning (BEFORE you roll over to look at your phone).  If you wake up on your side or stomach, you’ve probably been sleeping that way for most of the night.
Of course there are many many reasons why we wrinkle, and why some of us wrinkle faster than others.  Genetics, gravity, running, sun-exposure, hydration…the list goes on.  Sleep, however, is something we are all almost equally guilty of, and it not only damages your skin, but can also cause more fat loss on one side of your face due to the pressure exerted on the fat pads under your skin.  This will cause one cheek to droop more, one eye’s bags to be heavier, and one naso-labial line (the lines from the corner of your nose to the corner of your mouth) to be deeper.
We haven’t quite figured out how to guarantee back-sleeping just yet (a few suggestions are to use a horseshoe pillow like you do on an aeroplane, or to elevate your feet a bit so that side- and stomach-sleeping become uncomfortable) , but its quite clear that back is not whack.  Aside from the beauty benefits, sleeping on your back is also usually better for the health of your spine, especially in women, because, if you have hips, sleeping on your side causes curvature of the spine at the waist for prolonged periods, which can lead to back pain.  Going “back to back” may cause a little snoring at first, but your partner will be so pleased in 20 years time when he still has a fresh-faced beauty on his arm, rather than a wrinkled hag, wont he?*
If you absolutely cannot train yourself to sleep on your back, the next best thing is to choose your linen carefully.  Satin pillow slips (available from Deer Dear in South Africa: buy them on Zando) are relatively widely available, and exert less traction on your skin, allowing it to glide over the pillow rather than pull.  Satin pillow slips are also great for prevention of hair frizz!  Even better than satin is silk (buy them online in South Africa from Cocoon or The Silk Lady).  Silk is firstly an organic fibre that allows breathability and avoids the sweatiness that comes with synthetic fibers, which is great for your skin.  Secondly, like satin it does not exert traction on your skin, so although the perils of face sleeping wont be avoided completely, they will be minimized to an extent.  Lastly, silk is not as porous as satin, and will not absorb all your facial products like satin will.
If you’ve just looked in the mirror and realized that its already too late for you, never fear!  There are plenty non-surgical procedures that can help to iron your wrinkles right out and have you looking refreshed and rejuvenated!  To find out more visit, send us an email on OR give us a call on (021) 6833048 ext 1.
* Please note that under some conditions, like patients suffering from gastric reflux, sleep apnoea and pregnancy, back-sleeping is not recommended


  • […] SLEEP: Firstly you need to be getting enough of it (and there is no real prescribed number of hours, you know when you’ve had enough sleep or not so I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself).  Secondly, and this is the hard part: you really should be sleeping on your back.  As we age we develop wrinkles solely from sleeping on a preferred side.  If you look at any person over a certain age you will notice that on their forehead or cheeks they will have some vertical lines that are not mirrored on the other side of their face, and this is because the wrinkled side is the side the prefer to sleep on.  It makes sense – we spend roughly one third of our lives sleeping and if you spend one third of your life squashing one side of your face it’s bound to have an effect.  This is where silk (unfortunately satin doesn’t have as great an effect, but it’s probably better than nothing) pillowcases come in as they exert less traction on your face, as well as not soaking up all the anti-aging products you’ve painstakingly applied before bedtime (yes, your pillow basically gobbles all that stuff right up) keeping them on your face instead of beautifying your linen.  We don’t really have any tips on how to train yourself into becoming a back-sleeper at this stage (if you have any let us know!) but it is of utmost importance to your face so give it a try! […]

  • […] After the treatment (which takes about 20 minutes) I am still partially numb and also partially stingy and tingly.  My face feels tight and prickly and a bit itchy and it is RED.  I mean red red.  Like BAD sunburn red.  Like such bad sunburn that you have to sleep over at your friend’s house because you don’t want your dad to see what you did to his daughter red.  It’s also swollen in areas, especially my top lip and under my eyes.  The redness is a good excuse to make your loved ones believe you are unable to do any everyday tasks for yourself, but it’s not pretty.  I put on some Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective which tingles, but is lovely stuff that combats redness and also makes your skin wonderful and then put on my usual bedtime Vitamin A product: Dermastine, and go to bed trying to remind myself to sleep on my back. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *