The Connection Between Sleep Cycle and Skin Condition

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

You might not assume that there is any kind of connection between our sleep and our skin health, but both things go hand in hand. A good night’s rest is known to rejuvenate your body by giving it the required amount of rest. Our sleep cycle is just like a healthy diet, good water intake, and regular exercise. All these things play a role in maintaining and keeping our skin in good condition. Generally, adults between the ages of 18 and 60 are recommended to have at least 7 hours of sleep every night for maximum benefits. Going forward, this article explores more about our sleep schedule and how it impacts our skin health.

What is a Sleep Cycle?

Our sleep throughout the night happens in different stages. All this culminates in four different stages of sleep cycle, and normally, an adult will go through about four to six cycles in one night’s sleep. While every cycle has a different duration, the general timing lasts around 30+ minutes. The four stages are as follows:

  • NREM (Non-REM) N1: The first NREM stage refers to when we first fall asleep. During this, body and brain activity starts slowing down. It lasts anywhere from around 1 to 7 minutes, and if the person is not disturbed, they can quickly move on to the next one.
  • NREM N2: The second phase of the sleep cycle sees a drop in the body temperature. It is likely to last around 10 to 25 minutes during 1st sleep cycle, and this is when the breathing and heart rate slow down. Here, eye movement also comes to a stop. The majority of the sleep cycle duration is spent in this stage.
  • NREM N3 (slow-wave sleep, delta sleep, deep sleep): In the third stages of sleep, a person’s muscle tone, pulse, and breathing rate decrease. This stage is said to be the most important one of the whole cycle and is essential for the body to grow and recover. It generally lasts about 20 to 40 minutes.
  • REM (rapid eye movement): This is one of the last stages of the sleep cycle, where brain activity picks up. It lasts anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes. At this stage, you also experience a kind of sleep paralysis called atonia. Your muscles temporarily go into a state of total paralyzation (minus the eyes and the muscles that control our breathing). This stage is where we dream, which makes it an essential part of our cycle. Our cognitive functions, such as learning, memory, and creativity are significantly influenced by this phase.

Connection Between Sleep Phases and Skin Condition: The Good and Bad

A good night’s sleep has been seen to lower a person’s risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and different kinds of heart problems, as well as many mental health challenges. Various studies have been done to establish the connection between a person’s sleep cycle and skin condition. Loss of sleep has also been connected to major cellular loss in our body.

Having a good and healthy circadian cycle is essential for our skin. If we do not get enough sleep, dark circles tend to develop under our eyes, and even our cheeks can become hollow. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to the loss of fluids in our body, meaning that simply drinking water will not be enough to maintain moisture. Sleep also promotes a healthy flow of blood in our body, but if we deprive our body of a good night’s rest, then it can lead to a dull and uneven skin tone as well.

Unhealthy sleep and stages of sleep can also prevent your skin barrier from protecting itself, making your outer layer more susceptible to infections, irritants, and various other kinds of external damage. It also increases your chance of developing skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

A healthy sleep cycle promotes skin rejuvenation and cellular repair. Any damages that might have occurred (UV radiation, pollution, etc.) are repaired during the sleep. It also boosts collagen production in the body, which is responsible for skin elasticity and structure. A healthy sleep cycle can also be a great way to reduce stress, as it can lessen the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body.

Prevention: Protecting Your Skin, Sleep Cycle and Stages

There are certain things that you can do to protect your sleep cycle and, in turn, your skin health. Listed below, you can find some ways of protection:

  • Comfort: Ensure that your bedroom is dark and quiet and that you have comfortable bedsheets and pillows.
  • Have a proper sleep schedule: Sleeping and waking at regular intervals every day can help ensure a proper sleep schedule, also called a circadian cycle.
  • Avoiding coffee and alcohol: Caffeine is known to disrupt sleeping patterns; hence, avoiding this, especially in the evening, is essential.


Our sleep cycle plays an essential role in maintaining our skin health. Having a healthy diet, being consistent with your skincare, and having adequate water intake will not work if your body doesn’t get enough rest. Ensuring that you also create an optimal environment, maintain regular sleep and wake times, and avoid caffeine can also contribute to maintaining healthy stages of the sleep cycle.

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