You’ve probably heard the term “beauty sleep.” And we all agree that it sounds like a total myth. A lot of people ask themselves the question “Does sleep makes us more attractive? And if it does, how does that happen?”
Well, if one myth has a scientific explanation, it becomes reality! In that sense, various researchers have found that beauty sleep can be a real thing.
This article will guide you through the process of beauty sleep (explaining what that is), as well as through the biological changes that happen in this sleeping stage.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Is beauty sleep a real thing?
Taking into consideration that sleeping can restore your mind and body, beauty sleep can be a real thing.
In fact, according to 2020 information from biologists from the University of Manchester, good nights sleep and the body clock mechanisms can not only improve your activity during the day, but may also play a role in the the formation (regeneration) of bone, skin, tendon, and cartilage. 
The source also looks closely into the positive effects of body clock mechanisms on collagen synthesis (compound that is produced in the dermis and is responsible for skin elasticity and youth). This way, the scientists suggest a relation between skin aging and good night sleep, and demonstrate an association between good night sleep and beauty sleep.
Besides, the results of another 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that sleep deprived people appear less healthy and attractive, and more tired.  These conclusions suggest that beauty sleep may be a real thing, as sleep can significantly affect not only your mood, but also physical appearance.
What are the different stages of sleep?
Did you know that our sleep is divided in different stages and cycles? Well, one whole cycle is naturally composed of 4 different stages:
- Stage 1 Non-REM: Light sleep when your muscles and organs start to relax.
- Stage 2 Non-REM: Further relaxation of organs. Usually, in this stage people get the most sleep.
- Stage 3 Non-REM: Deep sleep when breathing and heartbeat are at their lowest pace and it’s difficult to wake up. This is the most restful sleeping stage.
- REM sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) starts about 90 minutes after you fall asleep. In this stage of sleep you experience not only rapid eye movement, but also accelerated breathing and heart rate, as well as increased brain activity.
*REM standing for “Rapid Eye Movement”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders (NINDS) these sleep stages may repeat 3-4 times a night when not interrupted. 
But which stage of the sleep cycle can actually be called beauty sleep?
How does beauty sleep work?
Beauty sleep is basically deep restorative sleep, which happens in Stage 3 Non-REM. It lasts for about 20-40 minutes and in this stage, the body releases one important hormone: Human Growth Hormone (HGH). 
It may be surprising, but exactly the HGH is responsible for the skin and body (restorative) changes during the night’s sleep.
This hormone is produced in pituitary glands (in the brain) and it’s vital for bone and muscle growth of kids and adolescents. Many people think that the brain stops excreting HGH once we’ve grown up. But that is not entirely true. The brain of every person produces HGH in stage 3 of the sleeping process.
Evidence suggests that HGH plays a role not only in metabolism and growth support, but also in cell communication and signalling. Besides, it can stimulate the regeneration of tissues in the body, such as muscles, bones, cartilage, and skin.
Does beauty sleep improve skin?
Regular high-quality deep sleep and production of growth hormone can result in various skin benefits. 
It can boost the production of new healthy skin cells, stimulating natural exfoliation process and strengthening the epidermis barrier (top skin layer). As a result, the skin can heal faster (after damage), become more resistant to damage caused by free radicals (e.g., pollution and sun radiation), and improve its water/moisture retention mechanism. Such increased cell turnover can also be associated with reduced chance of scarring after skin damage.
Besides, HGH may stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis (second skin layer). These compounds are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and youth, preventing and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other skin aging signs related to elasticity and suppleness.