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Dr. James D. Namnoum | Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Mind the Body: Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Appearance?

As a long-practicing plastic surgeon, I’ve devoted my life and career to helping people achieve their aesthetic goals. While I’ve mostly done this by utilizing my surgical expertise and experience, I’ve also helped people improve their looks through nonsurgical means like Botox® and facial filler treatments. My goal is to help you look your best, so for this week’s blog entry, I’m offering some advice that could slow down the need for cosmetic treatments or surgery at all—or at least keep you feeling and looking younger for longer.

Mind the Body Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your AppearanceFor the past several years, research has been piling up to suggest something that we all know to be true on some level: adequate sleep is essential to a happy, healthy life. A sleepless night can certainly ruin the day that follows it, but over time, bad sleep habits can also have negative impacts on your overall health. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a branch of the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports:

Sleep loss (less than 7 hours per night) may have wide-ranging effects on the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, including the following: obesity in adults and children, diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, anxiety symptoms, depressed mood, and alcohol use.

It makes intuitive sense that a lack of sleep would negatively affect your health and mood, but it’s harder to connect the dots that suggest it might damage your looks. No one wants to appear tired or unhealthy, and some science quantifies that a lack of sleep affects how we’re perceived by others. Observers in controlled studies have consistently rated sleep-deprived participants as appearing less healthy and attractive than their well-rested counterparts. Similarly, in a recent study, University of Michigan researchers used a scientific, computer-aided face-measurement system to rate study participants before and after sleep apnea treatments. The program produced much higher scores after the sleep apnea treatments had been administered, showing that even objective measures of attractiveness are affected by sleep.

This all goes to show that sleep can help you look younger, healthier, and more attractive day-by-day, but what about the long term? First of all, given that sleep affects your overall health, and your overall health can enormously influence your outward appearance, a lack of sleep could wind up impacting your looks in all kinds of unforeseeable ways. Moreover, there’s evidence that stress can make your skin look older and even age faster, and a consistent lack of sleep is closely correlated with heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

Chronic sleep deprivation also raises the risk of obesity and causes the biological systems that promote healthy aging to malfunction. Like stress, inadequate sleep has been shown to cause poorer skin health and more rapid skin-aging indications. Moreover, lack of sleep causes your body to release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes your skin to appear to age faster by breaking down collagen. Sleep is a time of biological renewal; your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) during deep sleep, and HGH is responsible for tissue repair. It turns out that our bodies do a lot of work to combat the aging process while we’re asleep.

There’s no doubt that consistently failing to get adequate sleep can have both short-term and long-term effects on your outward appearance. However, aging eventually affects everyone’s looks, and that’s where my skills and experience can help you the most. If you’d like to learn about the procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, that might help alleviate some of the signs of aging, please contact me, Dr. James Namnoum, to schedule a full facial rejuvenation consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and come back to the blog soon for more advice and information on looking your best.

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