A frequently recurring problem in the modern era is the quality of sleep that people are getting. Technology and difficulties with work-life balance have created a system that rewards people for being able to function on less sleep. However, if you’re concerned about your skin health, there are some ways that sleep can affect your skin that you should know about.

Sleeping trouble has become a growing complaint that the public is bringing to their doctors, especially in regards to sleep hygiene. Although many people worry about blue light from their phones, according to Sleep Authorities, yellow light before bedtime might be the worst color to view as it is said that this color disrupts sleep more. It’s worth doing some research on the correct sleep hygiene methods to utilize to get a good night’s rest.

Here are some ways how sleep can affect your skin.

Dry as a desert

Our skin produces more sebum (naturally occurring oils) when we’re sleeping, and when we don’t sleep we can suffer from dry skin. Sebum is your body’s natural way of retaining moisture as well as preventing bacterial growth. When we’re asleep our body also sends vital nutrients to our skin that can assist in the retention of water content. If you experience problems with dry skin you should especially be focusing on getting a good night’s rest regularly.

It’s called beauty sleep

It’s called beauty sleep for a reason, and that’s because sleeping works almost as well as a facelift. Our body removes expired cells from all of our systems when we’re asleep, and it produces anti-inflammatory compounds known as corticosteroids. When we don’t sleep enough, we experience more inflammation in our faces and an excess amount of dying cells that haven’t been removed. It’s also the “relaxation” time for the muscles that we use to support our facial expressions. This all contributes to why underslept individuals have dark circles underneath their eyes, and their faces might seem puffy.

Sleep less, eat more

This point indirectly contributes to our quality of skin regarding sleep, but because nutrition is so important to skin health it’s important to note. Multiple studies have shown that with less sleep, impulse control diminishes. That means that you’re going to be more tempted to eat more come snack time, and generally it will be unhealthy food. Excessive amounts of sugar and fat can lead to acne breakouts. Combined with low sebum production, this means bacteria have an opportunity to proliferate on your skin and make the breakouts worse.

It’s your body’s healing time

Along with anti-inflammatory hormones, your body also produces more HGH (human growth hormone) during sleep cycles. This hormone is absolutely essential to your cell’s ability to divide, and when it’s working properly it contributes to the development of new, healthy skin tissue. If you’re not getting enough of those precious REM hours in, your HGH production will dive, and so will the number of healthy skin cells your body is able to make. This process is important to all of your body systems, not just skin, so it’s an important process not to inhibit.

Worsening pre-existing conditions

If you already suffer from skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema, reduced sleep quality can exacerbate your symptoms. The hormones responsible for reducing inflammation aren’t going to be produced as heavily during waking hours, and these conditions won’t be limited by them. It won’t make or break your skin condition if you miss out on sleep every once and awhile, but a consistently reduced sleep cycle means you’re going to deal with more severe symptoms.

Sleep too much

Most of the points in this article relate to sleep deprivation and the negative consequences it has on your skin health. However, sleeping too much can produce similar consequences to its counterpart. Oversleeping on a regular basis is essentially extending the period of time that your body is going without nutrients. Remember, if you’re sleeping a healthy amount (7-8 hours) your body is going a long time without food and water. If you extend that period to 10-12 hours, your skin might actually begin to deteriorate more quickly and produce similar symptoms to those mentioned above.

If you are having any serious issues with sleep you should always speak to a medical professional. If you’re just burning the candle from both ends to deal with school, work, and your social life, it might be time you set up an organizer. Having an organized system that distributes when you should do activities might help you designate enough of that time to sleep. If you’re looking to seriously improve the quality and appearance of your skin, it might be time for you to make friends with your pillow again.