We all know the term ‘beauty sleep’. Bandied about on a daily basis, with many of us cancelling invitations to social gatherings because of it, ‘beauty sleep’ is the idea that if we don’t get a good night’s rest, our appearance the next day will take a hit.
But did you know there’s evidence to suggest that so-called beauty sleep is a genuine thing and not just some made-up idiom? ScienceDaily reports that scientists at the University of Manchester have discovered and explained what happens to our skin every night after we shut our eyes, and how getting more hours in can keep us looking young.
The secret lies with the collagen in our skin. The researchers explain that over half our body weight is “extracellular matrix, which provides structural and biomechanical support to cells in the form of connective tissue such as bone, skin, tendon and cartilage.”
They go on to say that half of the extracellular matrix, is collagen. It’s long been thought that the collagen levels in our body are fully formed by the time we reach the young age of 17. But the Manchester Uni scientists have now discovered there are in fact two types of fibrils (rope-like structures of collagen): thicker fibrils that are permanent and become fully formed by the time we reach 17; and thinner fibrils “that break as we subject the body to rigours of day but replenish at night.”
It’s these thinner fibrils that hold the power in keeping us looking youthful. Lead author of the study, Professor Karl Kadler, says “It’s intuitive to think our matrix should be worn down by wear and tear, but it isn’t and now we know why: our body clock makes an element which is sacrificial and can be replenished, protecting the permanent parts of the matrix.”
“And just like you need to oil a car and keep its radiator topped up with water, these thin fibrils help maintain the body’s matrix.”
So forget all the fancy creams with their marketing talk. You can get youthful-looking skin from some good quality sleep instead.