You’ve said it before: “I need my beauty sleep!” as you crawl under the covers for a well-deserved full night of rest. But while you might be saying it facetiously, there are ways to slow down signs of aging overnight. But first: doesn’t sleeping cause wrinkles?
Yes, it can. According to Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules ($13; amazon.com), sleeping in such a way that your face comes into contact with cotton pillowcasesâ€”like on your side or stomachâ€”can lead to the creation of deep sleep lines on your forehead and cheeks.
Wrinkles are caused by the loss of collagen and elasticity, which reduces skin volume. But applying repeated pressure (such as sleeping with the side of your face on a pillow) or muscle motions (such as laughing and squinting) against the collagen will promote its breakdown, eventually leading to visible lines.
Here are the eight ways that you can prevent wrinkles while you rest.
Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your stomach or on of your sides means there is constant pressure on your face. Over time, this action will produce unwanted sleep lines. You can remedy this by sleeping on your back, says Dr. Jaliman, this way you will not apply any pressure to your face. For many people though, this might be uncomfortable, and you can’t control your involuntary sleep movement leading you to a side or stomach position. But, you can practice and can get used to it over time.
Not a back-sleeper? Get a special pillow
Dr. Jaliman recommends the NIGHT Pillow ($150; amazon.com) for sleep. “It has many benefits including minimizing wrinkles, supporting clean skin, and assisting with hydrating your skin cells, which helps prevent the formation of fine lines,” she says.
If you do want to promote sleeping on your back, try the JuveRest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow ($40; qvc.com), which is a contoured pillow designed to reduce facial contact with the pillow surface, reducing sleep lines.
There’s also a lower-tech option for those who want to become back sleepers. You know those pillowsÂ they sell in airports so you can sleep comfortably on long flights? You can use them in bed, too. They make it easier to sleep on your back without eventually rolling onto your side. Try the Nap uPillow ($20; amazon.com), which uses silky-soft fabric for soothing support.
Upgrade your pillowcase
If you just can’t get comfortable sleeping on your back, you can still prevent those pillowcase-induced wrinkles by upgrading from cotton to silk or satin. “With a silk pillowcase, your skin slides on the pillow,” says Dr. Jaliman. In other words, there is less traction and your face won’t “crunch” against it like it does on a cotton pillow. Try the Spasilk Facial Beauty Pillowcase ($20; amazon.com). The 100% silk case is hypoallergenic and available in 18 colors.
Try a retinol
Retinol may be the most powerful tool in your anti-aging arsenal. The vitamin A derivative teaches your skin to act young again by stimulating the collagen that prevents fine lines. Dermatologists consistently recommend using the strongest cream your skin can tolerate (which may require a prescription), but there are plenty of over-the-counter options, such as Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Deep Wrinkle Moisturizer ($15; amazon.com).
Wear night cream
Night creams are heavy, ultra-moisturizing lotions that you probably couldn’t get away with wearing during the day (glowing is one thing, greasy is another). Choose one that contains hyaluronic acid, which helps plump and firm the skin. Health‘s editors love Garnier’s Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream ($14; amazon.com).
Or slather on this kitchen ingredient
You may already have this all-natural wrinkle remedy in your kitchen: coconut oil. Kate Hudson revealed on Instagram that she’s a fan, and dermatologists say it’s a safe alternative to traditional lotion. Health‘s food director, Beth Lipton, even replaced her night cream with coconut oil for a week and was pleased with the results. Smooth a pea-sized amount into your skin each night after you wash your face; your best bet is a virgin coconut oil, such as Viva Labs the Finest Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($10; amazon.com).
Get a full night’s rest
It might sound obvious, but getting the right amount of sleep is necessary. “It is important to sleep 7 to 8 hours a night to rejuvenate the skin,” says Dr. Jaliman. “That’s why it’s called beauty sleep!”