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Is the way you sleep causing wrinkles?

We’ve all been there, examining the jumble of creases a night’s sleep has left on our skin through blurry morning eyes.

What are sleep wrinkles?


These pillow marks are nothing new, and most of us have been noticing them our entire lives. The difference is that when we’re younger, they bounce back quickly, retreating before you’ve even had a chance to finish your morning coffee. As the years roll by, you might notice that they don’t make themselves scarce quite as quickly. And, overtime, these marks can become deeper and more exaggerated, developing into what experts call “sleep wrinkles” – lines caused by the way you sleep.


Why does this happen? With age, our natural levels of collagen and elastin dwindle, meaning skin doesn’t ping back quite as well as it once did. A good way to picture the decline is the satisfying snap of a brand new elastic band versus the stretchiness of one that’s been used numerous times. Skin is less resilient, and therefore more prone to lines and sagging.


The good news is if this is a concern for you, and you’re keen to avoid sleep wrinkles, there are things you can do.


The big caveat here is that getting eight hours (or more) of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for your skin. So, if changing your sleep routine with the aim of reducing wrinkles comes at the detriment of the amount of sleep you’re getting, then it’s not worth it.


How to avoid sleep wrinkles


Change position


There’s nothing quite like the feeling of squishing your face into the pillow at the end of a long day. Add fresh sheets and your comfiest pyjamas into the mix and you really are into a winning combination. Unfortunately, as joyous as it feels to face-plant the pillow, it’s less than ideal for your skin. Our heads are heavy, and by sleeping face down our skin is taking the brunt of its weight. Picture a silk top at the bottom of the laundry basket, scrunched beneath the weight of your other clothes – creases are inevitable.


Anecdotally, those who sleep on one side, normally notice increased wrinkles on the side they nestle into the pillow.


To avoid developing these creases which, as we’ve explained, can develop into long-lasting wrinkles, it’s best to sleep on your back. Easier said than done, we know, especially if you suffer from insomnia and spend most of the night tossing and turning. A pillow that’s dipped in the middle will help to encourage you to stay in this position, as will putting spare pillows alongside your body to remind your subconscious of your pre-sleep agenda.


Switch up your pillowcase


Silk and satin pillowcases are popular for preventing frizzy hair, and can have real benefits for your skin too. The reason they do such a good job of preventing AM tangles and fluff is that they cause less friction than your average cotton or jersey pillowcase. The same logic applies to skin, if your skin is slipping against the fabric, instead of rubbing, you’re less likely to wake up to red marks and develop premature wrinkles. Not to mention it makes for a more luxurious bedtime experience.


Invest in an eye mask


The skin around your eyes is super thin, and therefore very fragile. Fine lines can appear here sooner than on other parts of the face, so it pays to give this area a little extra TLC. Investing in a silk eye mask is a smart move. Not only will it feel gorgeous against your skin, keep the light out and create a relaxing bedtime ritual, it’ll ensure the skin in this area isn’t tugged and pulled around in the night. As an added bonus, if you’re prone to absentmindedly rubbing your eyes while you snooze, resulting in puffy eyes, this will create a physical barrier.


If you wanted to go one step further, you could even lie on two pillows, instead of one, elevating your face to help prevent puffiness around the eyes.


Protect your skincare


If you need yet another reason not to sleep on your face, consider your skincare. Lovingly applying your acids, serums and moisturiser and then immediately rubbing it off onto the pillow will undo all your good work. Peptides and retinoids both have a role to play in encouraging the production of collagen, plumping skin to help diminish the appearance of those pesky sleep wrinkles. Slather on before bed and reap the benefits come morning.