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Dr Sue Ho: How Does Lack of Sleep Cause You to Age Faster?

By Dr Sue Ho
Lack of Sleep Connect Signs of Ageing

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon for us to lead busy lives that extend well into the night. Late nights have become a norm for many, whether due to work commitments, social activities, or simply the allure of binge-watching your favourite Netflix shows.

However, you might not realise that those late nights could be taking a toll on your skin, potentially accelerating the visible signs of ageing. In this article, we’ll show you how the consistent lack of a good night’s sleep can contribute to premature ageing and what you can do to counteract its effects.

Premature Ageing

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room – premature ageing. Late nights disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, leading to various negative consequences for your skin.

When your sleep-wake cycle is irregular, your skin doesn’t have a chance to undergo the essential repair and regeneration processes that occur during deep sleep. Over time, this can result in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging – all classic signs of ageing.

Skin Barrier

You need a healthy skin barrier for youthful skin. Hydration is essential for maintaining the skin’s natural barrier function and overall well-being. This barrier protects your skin from environmental factors such as pollution and UV rays while retaining moisture.

However, lack of sleep can weaken your skin’s barrier function as it causes hydration loss. A study shows that just one day of sleep deprivation significantly reduces skin hydration. It also affects skin renewal and elasticity and aggravates wrinkles.

A weakened barrier function also means your skin is less equipped to defend itself against external aggressors, leading to increased dryness, redness, and irritation.


Chronic sleep deprivation can also trigger inflammation in the body, which is detrimental to your overall health and can manifest visibly on your skin.

Inflamed skin often appears red and irritated, exacerbating conditions like acne and rosacea. Additionally, inflammation can break down collagen and elastin fibres in your skin, speeding up ageing.

Dark Circles and Puffiness

Those dreaded dark circles and puffiness under your eyes are common side effects of late nights. When you don’t get enough sleep, blood vessels under your eyes dilate, creating a dark and bruised appearance.

Puffiness can also occur due to fluid retention, making your eyes look tired and aged.

Dull Complexion

Late nights can leave you with a lacklustre complexion. A proper night’s sleep helps your skin shed dead cells and rejuvenate. Without it, your skin can appear dull, rough, and lacking that youthful glow.

Imbalanced Hormones

Sleep is essential for maintaining hormonal balance. When you consistently stay up late, your body raises cortisol production, a stress hormone that can break down collagen and elastin. Higher cortisol levels may lead to sagging skin and fine lines.

Delayed Healing

Skin heals and repairs itself during deep sleep. If you’re not getting enough rest, any wounds, acne blemishes, or other skin issues may take longer to heal, potentially leaving behind scars or pigmentation.

Exacerbate Existing Skin Conditions

If you already have skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, late nights can exacerbate these issues. The lack of sleep weakens your skin’s ability to manage these conditions, making them more challenging to control.

What Makes Quality Sleep?

The body goes through various restorative processes during sleep, including skin repair and regeneration.

Sleep increases blood flow to the skin, which delivers essential nutrients and oxygen. During these nighttime hours, your skin repairs and replaces damaged cells, helping maintain a youthful appearance. Several factors characterise quality sleep.

  • Duration

Quality sleep entails receiving enough sleep for your age and particular demands. While the appropriate duration varies from person to person, most individuals require seven to nine hours of sleep per night to ensure proper rest and recovery.

  • Consistency

You must maintain a regular sleep schedule for quality sleep. Going to bed early and waking up at the same time each day regulates your body’s internal clock so you can fall asleep and wake up quickly.

  • Deep and Uninterrupted Sleep

Quality sleep includes sufficient periods of deep sleep, characterised by slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These stages are essential for memory consolidation, emotional processing, and physical restoration.

Frequent awakenings during the night, even if brief and unnoticed, can disrupt the sleep cycle and prevent you from reaching deep sleep stages. Quality sleep involves minimal interruptions.

Smart Sleep Tips

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night to allow the body to go through all sleep cycles adequately.
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule, including weekends.
  • Create a comfortable and conducive sleep environment with a comfortable mattress and minimal distractions.
  • Ensure your bedroom is dark during sleep to support melatonin production, a hormone essential for sleep.
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature, usually on the cooler side.
  • Limit caffeine and screen time before bedtime.

Skin Rejuvenation Treatment Options

If late nights and ageing have already left their mark on your skin, don’t despair. Various skin rejuvenation treatment options are available to help turn back the clock and restore a youthful appearance. Here are a few options available in Singapore.

Chemical Peel

A chemical peel is a skin rejuvenation treatment that can effectively improve the appearance of your skin. This method involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to exfoliate and remove damaged outer layers.

The process encourages the growth of new, healthier skin cells, revealing a smoother complexion. A chemical peel rejuvenates skin texture, reduces wrinkles, and promotes collagen production.

At SL Aesthetic Clinic, we provide several chemical solutions to address different concerns. These are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid, to name a few.


Laser skin rejuvenation treatments in Singapore employ concentrated beams of light to target specific skin concerns. They can effectively address some signs of ageing that a lack of sleep may exacerbate.

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Laser skin rejuvenation methods, such as fractional and ablative lasers, can target and stimulate collagen production in the skin. By encouraging new collagen growth, lasers can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Rough and Uneven Skin

Laser skin rejuvenation can smooth and even out rough skin as it exfoliates the outermost layer of skin. The accumulation of dead skin is removed to stimulate the growth of new skin, improving skin texture and tone.

Skin Tightening

Some laser skin rejuvenation treatments, such as non-ablative lasers, can tighten loose or sagging skin. Energy or heat delivered to the deeper layers of the skin stimulates collagen production, resulting in a tightening effect.

Skin booster

Skin boosters are non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments that involve injecting hyaluronic acid into the skin to improve the overall skin quality. Unlike other injectable treatments like dermal fillers, skin boosters do not increase volume in the skin. Instead, its hyaluronic acid formula spreads into the skin to rejuvenate it from the inside out.


One of the primary benefits of skin boosters is their ability to provide deep and lasting hydration to the skin. Skin boosters replenish and lock in moisture, resulting in plumper, more dewy-looking skin.

Reducing fine lines and wrinkles

Skin boosters can effectively reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. By hydrating the skin from within, these treatments help fill in fine lines and create a smoother, more rejuvenated complexion.

Enhancing skin elasticity

Skin boosters help improve skin elasticity by stimulating collagen production. Higher collagen production can lead to firmer skin.

Revitalising dull skin

Skin boosters can revitalise dull skin, giving it a radiant and refreshed appearance. The enhanced hydration and improved texture contribute to this healthy glow.

Skin Rejuvenation Treatments in Singapore

Prioritising quality sleep is essential in maintaining the health of your skin. While a good night’s rest can work wonders for your skin, skin rejuvenation treatments are available to help you reduce the visible signs of ageing.

If you’re considering skin rejuvenation treatments, SL Aesthetic Clinic is here to help. Our team of experienced doctors specialises in various non-surgical cosmetic procedures to address your specific skin concerns and help you look and feel your best.

Book a consultation today.

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