By now, you vaguely understand the importance of “beauty sleep,” but it goes far beyond the old wives’ tale idiom you heard growing up. Sleep is actually nature’s most effective makeover treatment — rebooting your beauty as much as your brain. And to make the most of your coveted beauty sleep, you should implement a few overnight beauty tricks.
Believe it or not, there’s a reason you’re able to beauty while you sleep. During a deep restful slumber, your body can process, renew, and rejuvenate, allowing your skin and hair to better absorb nutrients, and helping your natural beauty-boosting processes kick in. Take the pituitary gland, for instance. In an interview with Prevention, sleep specialist Michael Breus explained that the pituitary gland, “releases more growth hormones at night, stimulating skin-cell regeneration and collagen production.” And according to Fitness magazine, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep triggers melatonin production — a skin-protecting antioxidant hormone — and allows our skin to relax and deeply recover. Not to mention the fact your body’s reparative enzymes peak around 3 a.m — a time you’re probably fast asleep — making it a key window for skin and hair treatments. See, overnight beauty treatments aren’t just a marketing ploy; it’s science!
With these nighttime beauty tricks, the time you spend snoozing can also be super productive. (Good news for Type-A go-getters who have a hard time shutting down at night.) Try these easy bedtime beauty treatments and wake up looking (and feeling) better than ever.
1. Apply Antioxidant-Rich Face Creams
“Your complexion can make better use of active ingredients when it’s not performing other functions, such as defending itself from the sun,” Dr. Harold Lancer, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist told Prevention magazine. “Plus, some brightening ingredients, like retinol and vitamin C, are deactivated in sunlight.” According to dermatologist Howard Murad, the best way to fight off skin-damaging free radicals is by using creams or lotions with antioxidants. “Since you’re most exposed to these particles when you’re out in the sun and fresh air, nighttime is your best bet for a fix,” Murad told Good Housekeeping.
2. Wrap Wet Hair
“The worst thing you can do to your hair at night is sleep with it wet,” Nicholas Penna Jr., a Boston-based hairstylist, told Prevention magazine. “Water swells hair, making them more fragile and likely to split and break as you rub your head against the pillowcase.” If you’re a nighttime bather (such as myself), wrap your hair in a DIY T-shirt turban — which, good news, just might give you the best curls of your life.
3. Turn On A Humidifier
All the hormone and collagen production going on under the skin can actually cause us to lose 25 percent more water overnight than during the day, according to Howard Murad, dermatologist and author of The Water Secret. Instead of investing in a moisture-rich night cream, simply turn on a humidifier. It’ll infuse the air with much-needed moisture, hydrating your skin as you sleep.
4. Moisturize Your Hair
“During sleep is the optimum time to use a nourishing treatment on your hair,” sleep expert Chris Idzikowski told Cosmopolitan magazine. Idzikowski recommends an overnight hair formula with argan oil, but you could even slather on straight coconut oil for a nutrient-rich treatment. Applying a leave-in conditioner in the evening will give it more time to penetrate your hair cuticles, leaving your hair softer and shinier by daybreak.
5. De-Puff Swollen Eyes With A Pillow
You could buy fancy eye creams made of caffeine, or you could try this old Hollywood trick from beauty maven Lauren Conrad to minimize those under-eye bags. “Add an extra pillow and sleep on your back,” she wrote on her blog. “This will allow the fluids around your eyes to drain easier and keep the puffiness to a minimum.”
6. Smooth Hands And Feet
Do you often forget about your poor callused feet and dry, cracked hands during the day? Nighttime is the absolute best time to fix these neglected spots. Simply slather on some vaseline or coconut oil and sleep with thick cotton socks and gloves. It might take some getting used to, but the silky-smooth results are worth the inconvenience.
7. Wake Up With Kissable Lips
Another neglected rough spot is the skin on your smoocher. Since you won’t be eating or drinking at night, it’s the perfect time to slather on a DIY lip scrub and some moisturizing chapstick, leaving your lips kissably soft by morning.