“Get your beauty sleep!”
You’ve probably heard that saying a thousand times before. But it’s only natural to wonder…does an improved nighttime routine and ample hours of rest actually translate to healthy skin, brighter eyes, and a refreshed glow? And on the flip side, does sleep deprivation make you look older or lend to a lackluster complexion?
We’re exploring all those questions and more. Plus, we’re offering sleep routine tips and a simple nighttime skincare routine that’ll have you and your skin looking and feeling great.
Is Beauty Sleep an Actual Thing?
Oh yes, beauty sleep is absolutely real, and we’re about to get into all the ways getting enough shut eye can help you look and feel better. So what is beauty sleep? While the exact number of hours each of us needs differs person to person—and changes as we age—the sweet spot is in both the amount of sleep and the quality of the hours you’re logging. (More on that below.) Sticking to a good nighttime routine can help with both.
Getting beauty sleep can translate to the following:
1. Youthful Appearance
It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But one of the potential benefits of getting your beauty sleep is appearing more youthful.
Science tells us that ongoing sleep deprivation is linked to increased signs of aging—like fine lines, wrinkles, and laxity—and reduced skin barrier function.1 As a result, people who aren’t catching enough shut-eye are often less satisfied with their overall appearance. (And perhaps crankier…or is that just us?)
Pro Tip: In general, getting more sleep also curbs stress. So more than just waking up refreshed and well-rested, you’ll feel better over the long term.
2. Glowing Skin
Have you ever noticed that a few nights of bad sleep can cause your skin to look lackluster and dehydrated? You’re not seeing things. A 2020 study published in Nature Cell Biology tells us that catching enough Zzz's every night can promote a bright skin tone.2
Long story short, science says that our collagen repairs itself while we sleep. Repaired collagen spells glowing, radiant-looking skin.
3. Brighter, Less Puffy Eyes
Ever wondered why lack of sleep seems to cause a puffy face and eyes or under eye bags? While getting older has a lot to do with it, there’s a correlation between these issues and lack of sleep.3
Also, a study published in the Sleep Research Society found that faces of sleep deprived people were perceived as having red and swollen eyes, darker under eye circles, and droopy eyelids.4
The bottom line is that while the clock will always move forward, getting your beauty sleep does make you look younger compared to a scenario where you’re consistently not getting enough rest. Sleep, skin repair, and skin appearance all go hand-in-hand.
How Many Hours Are Necessary for Beauty Sleep?
Now that you know that sleep can impact your appearance, the next step is figuring out how many hours you should aim for every night. The number varies depending on how old you are, but adults 18 and older should get at least seven hours of sleep per night.5
While getting seven hours or more of beauty sleep is great, remember that sleep quality matters, as well. High sleep quality means uninterrupted sleep, a balance of light, deep, and REM sleep, and a consistent sleep schedule that doesn’t vary much from day to day.
Though it might sound strange, skin has its own circadian rhythm. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL), blood flow to the skin, and your body’s temperature all have circadian variations. If your sleep isn’t consistent, it can impact these natural rhythms which may ultimately show up in your appearance.6
Can You Catch Up on Sleep?
The good news first: Sleeping in on the weekends gives you an immediate boost from the extra hours—especially if you’ve had a long week with not enough or poor sleep. But there is not-so-great news. Research suggests that people need four days of adequate rest to make up for even one hour of lost sleep. That lost sleep is often referred to as “sleep debt” but unlike real world debt, you can’t ‘pay yourself back’ from borrowed sleep.
What Is a Good Bedtime Routine for Adults?
Being an adult may mean you get to order dessert whenever you want, but adulthood comes with chaotic schedules, long to-do lists, and not enough time for unstructured downtime and self-care. That makes it all the more important to carve out time at the end of the day so you can wind down and sleep well.
Ultimately, the best nighttime routine is one that you look forward to doing every night. This helps you remain consistent and promotes higher quality sleep over the long run. Everyone’s sleep routine varies, but here’s a good format to follow:
Decide on a time to “wind down.” Aim for 30 minutes to an hour before sleeping.
Turn off all screens, which can affect your sleep quality.7
Complete your skincare routine (more on that in a second).
Do something relaxing, like reading a book, journaling, stretching, taking a warm shower, meditation, or listening to music.
Close your eyes and enjoy your slumber.
A 3-Step Nighttime Skincare Routine
Not only does a night skincare routine serve as a loving act of self-care, but using nourishing skincare products can also improve the health and quality of skin. Follow this simple pre-sleep night regimen for skin that glows when you wake up.
Step 1: Facial Cleanser
Cleansing your face removes makeup, sunscreen, dirt, sweat, and other debris from your face. It also creates a clean slate for what comes next. Confidence in a Cleanser is a gentle, hydrating facial cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types.
Step 2: Serum
A facial serum before sleep can do wonders for your complexion. Serums contain high concentrations of ingredients that target specific skin concerns, such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture, and dullness. When applied at night, they can get to work visibly repairing skin.
Try one of the following:
Bye Bye Lines Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Hydrates, plumps, and smooths the look of fine lines with 1.5% hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamin B5.
Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum: 10% glycolic acid helps minimize the appearance of large pores while visibly improving skin texture and tone.
Bye Bye Dullness Vitamin C Serum: This antioxidant-rich serum features 15% vitamin C, making for a brighter complexion.
Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum: A duo of 4% niacinamide and 1% ethyl vitamin C helps visibly fade dark spots and discoloration.
Pro Tip: You can layer certain serums on top of each other. There are some rules to keep in mind, so check out our guide on how to layer serums if you’re not sure where to start.
Step 3: Moisturizer
Applying moisturizer before bed is a must, and our favorite is Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream.
This lavender-scented anti-aging cream is formulated specifically to help with visible signs of skin renewal while you sleep, plus it’s designed to not transfer to your pillow once applied. After just one sleep, your skin will feel hydrated, smooth, and supple. And after using it for a week, your fine lines will diminish in appearance, and your skin will feel firmer and look plumper!
Double down on that moisturizing action by adding an eye cream to your nighttime routine, such as Confidence in an Eye Cream. Don’t take this nighttime skincare tip for granted, especially if you want to combat the look of tired eyes.
Pro Tip: Incorporate a retinoid into your nighttime skincare routine, such as Hello Results Wrinkle-Reducing Daily Retinol Serum-in-Cream. This anti-aging cream features dual retinol and can be applied underneath your evening moisturizer. Just make sure not to pair it with your glycolic acid serum on the same day.
Everyone’s nighttime routine will vary, but staying consistent and making sure to carve out time at night for your own ritual can help set you up to get beauty sleep every night.
Seeking more skincare tips? Read through our guide on What Anti-Aging Ingredients Are Best for Mature Skin?, When You Should Start Using Anti-Aging Products, and How To Reduce The Look of Fine Lines Around Your Eyes.
Oyetakin-White, P., et al. “Does Poor Sleep Quality Affect Skin Ageing?” Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, vol. 40, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 17–22. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1111/ced.12455.
Chang, Joan, Richa Garva, Adam Pickard, Ching-Yan Chloé Yeung, Venkatesh Mallikarjun, Joe Swift, David F. Holmes, et al. “Circadian Control of the Secretory Pathway Maintains Collagen Homeostasis.” Nature Cell Biology 22, no. 1 (January 2020): 74–86. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-019-0441-z.
“Bags Under the Eyes.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 24 Aug. 2021, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/bags-under-eyes.
mSundelin, Tina, et al. “Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance.” Sleep, vol. 36, no. 9, Sept. 2013, pp. 1355–60. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.2964.
“How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need?” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898.
Zanello, S. B., et al. “Expression of the Circadian Clock Genes Clock and Period1 in Human Skin.” The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, vol. 115, no. 4, Oct. 2000, pp. 757–60. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1747.2000.00121.x.
“Can Electronics Affect Quality Sleep?” Sleep Foundation, 27 July 2017,