Does Lack of Sleep Cause Acne to Worsen?

Just as we need food and water to live, we also need to get a good night’s sleep on the regular.


And just like when we don’t eat or drink well, or properly, when we don’t get quality, adequate sleep it affects both our mind and our body, as well as our skin.


Sleep deprivation can actually cause numerous mechanisms to go awry inside our bodies.


So Does Lack of Sleep Cause Acne to Worsen?


Well it's nowhere near the main cause of your acne, but yes, it can definitely cause it to worsen.


Especially if you're dealing with breakouts.


If you want to know the main cause of your acne, then you can read this previously written post.


For example, studies have shown that just a week of poor sleep can cause significant alterations in glucose tolerance; impaired glucose tolerance can make you more likely to develop things like diabetes, but they can also lead to acne, as our bodies pump out inflammation in response to insulin spikes.


Sleep deprivation can also affect our cortisol levels; while cortisol has its place by helping our bodies respond to stress so that we don’t become ill, people who don’t have a normal sleep/wake cycle can actually have cortisol levels that are high when they should be low, and low when they should be high.


How Does Lacking Sleep Cause Acne or Breakouts to Worsen?


Getting only 4-5 hours of sleep a night can result in heightened cortisol levels in the evening that decrease six times slower in comparison to healthy subjects.


These chronically-elevated levels of cortisol can result in inflammation in the body that negatively affects our skin, and our overall health.


In terms of acne, there is no question that lack of sleep will make it worse. This study shows an unquestionable link between the gut, skin and brain. They need sleep just like they need water. 


How a Lack of Sleep Affects Diet?


And if you think diet doesn't have an effect on your acne then you're in for some bad news.


I hate to be the bearer of it, but the academy of dermatology even agrees with me.


Here's just one article they've released in the past year about it. 


If you want to know the best foods for avoiding acne, I think this previous post does a good job of explaining them.


Sleep and Inflammation


Sleep deprivation can also increase the amount of inflammation in our bodies in another way. At night as we sleep, our bodies undergo changes that make for an environment that supports inflammation.


When we get adequate sleep, however, this inflammatory state supports the immune system by enhancing the body’s ability to form an initial and long-term immune response.


However, when we’re chronically sleep-deprived, the inflammatory state becomes unbalanced and only serves to impede immune function.


One Last Tip About Sleeping


So does lack of sleep cause acne to actually worsen?


The answer is yes.


So if you’re thinking of skimping on the sleep to get a little extra work done, think again.


Not only will your cognitive function likely suffer, leading to a lower quality of work being produced, but your skin is going to suffer immensely, as well.


A better solution is to get a good night’s rest, and tackle any work the following day. Your body and your skin will thank you.


- Samantha Rizzo