Outside of genetics and external factors, one of the biggest deciders in how we age is how we sleep. Getting enough shuteye is vital, but even more important is the way in which we sleep.
“We spend a third of our lives sleeping,” says New York facial plastic surgeon Edward S. Kwak, MD. “Over time, when sleeping on one particular side of the face on average six to nine hours a night can affect skin volume,” he explains. “Sleeping on one’s side may lead to changes in fat distribution in the face and can develop deeper wrinkles, especially along the nasolabial folds or cheeks.”
“Pressure is one of two factors,” adds New York dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD. “Side sleepers or those pushing their face into the pillow causes skin folds, but another factor is fluid. Pressure on any area for a prolonged time can reduce circulation. That won’t make a huge difference for most people, but for those with a tendency to retain fluids, it can lead to swelling in downward facing areas. It tends to be particularly noticeable around the eyes.”
“It is of utmost importance to take care of the skin before bed,” notes Dr. Kwak. “This includes moisturizing and utilizing serums that help protect the skin during sleep. This is important in colder climates and dry environments. I recommend using a humidifier during winter months or dry climates.”
To avoid the lines that lie in late at night, Dr. Waldorf says invest in a good pillow and pillowcase. For neck and head support without putting pressure on the face, she recommends pillows that cradle the head like the enVy Pillow and the Save My Face Beauty Pillow.
“Look for one that reduces friction between the face and the cloth. My late mother always slept on a silk pillowcase. I love my Slip Silk Pillowcase—it doesn’t feel cold or wet like the old silk cases and it doesn’t pill with washing and drying. I also recommend illuminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcases. The material incorporates copper fibers shown to improve skin quality. Copper fibers are also antibacterial, so these are great for anyone with acne.”