Beauty

What a difference 2 hours makes! New study reveals shocking impact of just a couple of hours less sleep

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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We are all well versed in the health benefits of a good night's sleep, from improved concentration to a better sense of general well being.

But what about the effects of sleep on our skin?

Model Jodie Kidd took part in an experiment that tested her skin both after sleeping for eight hours and for six hours, and the results showed noticeable short term damage to her skin after sleeping for a shorter amount of time.

Jodie Kidd

Jodie Kidd's skin after eight hours sleep (left) compared to six hours (right)

The study, commissioned by Bensons for Beds, required Jodie and 30 other female volunteers to have their skin photographed and tested with a Visia machine after one night of sleeping for eight hours and after a five night stretch of sleeping for just six hours.

The results from the average female volunteer showed that fine lines and wrinkles increased in number by 45% while spots increased by 13%.

Some volunteers even had more dramatic changes, such as a 127% increase in spots and an increase in red areas by 68%.

Skin

Eight hours sleep (left) compared to six (right)

Although we all know we should be aiming for eight hours of sleep a night it can often be difficult to get the recommended amount of shut-eye, and a huge 46% of the nation regularly only manage a six hour stretch.

You might also like: '10 proven ways to get a great night's sleep

Jodie said, “As a busy working mother, it is quite common that I don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep per night. I have never really thought about how this might affect my skin as I have so many other priorities at the moment."

"Having seen the really quite significant effects of just five nights of six hours sleep, I realise that rest is an important part of it."

skin 3

Eight hours sleep (left) compared to six (right)

The study also tested the effects of sleep on self-esteem. The results showed a 20% drop in self-esteem after the participants had slept for only six hours, with participants feeling 33% less attractive by the end of the study.

Dr Guy Meadows, Founder of The Sleep School and leading UK sleep expert, said, “Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and eliminate toxins from the skin. When sleep is reduced, so is the body’s ability to carry out these functions.

You might also like: 'What your sleeping habits say about you

The study showed significant results over a period of just five days, yet the reality is many people are sleeping in this manner for weeks, months and even years, leading to long term consequences for their looks and how they feel about themselves.” 

With long term effects of sleep deprivation including premature ageing of the skin and poor complexion, we're going to be heading for an early night this evening...

skin 4

Eight hours sleep (left) compared to six (right)

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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