The good news is that taking advantage of your beauty sleep is so simple, you can do it with your eyes closed. Studies have found our skin has its own circadian rhythm and that skin cell renewal ramps up when we’re sleeping. “Skin regeneration and recovery steps up at night when the skin is protected from environmental insults,” explains Melbourne dermatologist Dr Adam Sheridan. So by paying attention to the ingredients you put on your face at night, you can boost production of healthy, youthful-looking skin.

So what works best? “Barrier lipids, such as ceramides, triglycerides and cholesterol, restore the skin’s protective outer layers to seal in moisture and reduce sensitivity, while alpha and beta hydroxy acids restore skin pH back to a healthy acidic state overnight to increase hydration, smoothness and clarity,” advises

Richard Parker, founder and head of research and development at Melbourne-based skincare company, Rationale. Products are continually evolving to work more efficiently while you're asleep. Other key ingredients to benefit your beauty sleep are antioxidants (such as vitamins A and C), potent DNA-repair agents and stem-cell activators.

So if you’ve been using the same old night cream for the past decade or more, it could be high time to rethink your bedtime routine.

YOUR BODY ON BEAUTY SLEEP

When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your skin is sallow and zit-prone and can look tired and droopy. Here’s why:

Blood flow to your skin increases while you snooze. If you skimp on sleep, your skin can look dry and ashen, rather than rosy.

Sleep time is cell-repair time. Growth hormone, produced during deep sleep, plays a role in protein synthesis, which helps our bodies heal cell damage from daily wear and tear.

Collagen (the protein that keeps skin looking plump and smooth) is affected if you don’t get enough sleep. Hydration balance is thrown out of whack by lack of sleep. You’re likely to see greater venous congestion around your eyes or blood pooling in veins, leading to dark circles and sometimes puffiness.

Stress hormones get cranked up when you’re tired. Without adequate sleep, our brain starts producing cortisol, a hormone that makes you feel revved up. But it can also cause inflammation, resulting in acne in the short-term and wrinkles over time. Bottom line? Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to stay looking (and feeling) your absolute best.

PRE-SLEEP BEAUTY SLEEP

1. Wash the day away

Skincare works best on a fresh face. “It’s beneficial to remove the pollutants and applied products of the day, allowing the skin to focus its activities on re-setting and regenerating,” Dr Sheridan says.

We're loving these cleansers:

This gentle but efficient cleanser goes from balm to oil with water. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, RRP $16.99, Priceline. Ideal for all, including those prone to eczema and acne. This mild, soap-free formula cleanses without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

This luxe cream contains nourishing shea oil and a hyaluronic acid complex to cleanse while boosting moisture. Remove with a cotton pad.

2. Apply your pre-dream night cream

Try a multi-tasking, hard-working cream for the night shift. Dr. Sheridan suggests varying your regimen, with lighter products for part of the week and richer products when your skin needs extra care.

3. Power up your hydration

A rich night mask once or twice a week will truly quench your skin’s thirst. Try Trilogy’s intensely hydrating Age-Proof Overnight Mask ($44.95, Priceline), which contains brightening vitamin C and lipid-boosting ingredients that support the skin’s night-time repair function to nourish and firm by morning.

© Prevention Australia