Getting Old Overnight: Why Sleeping May Age You Faster
Melissa Rudy on 18 Apr 2012 at 8:30am
If you've been subscribing to the notion that a girl needs her beauty sleep, you may want to reconsider. Apparently, your visits to dreamland could be giving you wrinkles.
The American Academy of Dermatology notes that sleeping in certain positions—on your side or face-down in the pillow—causes “sleep lines” on your face and neck. After many nights of slumbering in the same position, they can become permanent. Sleeping on your side can also wrinkle your chest. Whatever you call them (“boob lines,” anyone?), they're just as unsightly.
Individual doctors affirm this furrow-inducing sleep phenomenon. “Sleep lines are a well-recognized dermatologic entity,” says dermatologist Dr. Arnold Oppenheim. “You can test for these lines yourself [versus regular wrinkles] by simply applying pressure to the side you sleep on. If the lines are duplicated and accented, your lines are most [likely] sleep lines.”
Don’t sleep in a chair just yet—here are some tips for conquering these insidious creases.
The natural solution: Try a new position
While you might typically reserve the flat-on-your-back position for certain other bedroom activities, it's the cheapest and most effective way to smooth out sleep lines for both face and chest. “Sleeping on your back is the best option, but many people find it uncomfortable,” Dr. Oppenheim says.
Back sleeping can be tough at first—but once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy more benefits than just erasing wrinkles. The position can also help achieve better breathing, a straighter spine, and a reduction in migraines and back pain.
A few tips to help you maintain the missionary position:
- Practice. No, really—take 10 or 15 minutes out of your day to lie on your back in bed. Muscle memory plays a role in the way we hold our bodies, so every time you hold this position, you're training yourself for healthier sleep.
- Place a pillow under your knees. This can give you the leverage to relax when you're flat, and it helps keep you in place if you tend to thrash around in your sleep.
- Invest in a memory foam pillow, which will mold itself around you and encourage you to stay still. They're also super comfortable (so if your significant other sleeps in the bed with you, make sure you get two—otherwise, you may find yours gone in the morning).
Can you cushion your way to smooth skin?
Some specialty pillows can help fight the battle of the folds. Available in polyfill and memory foam versions, the About Face Wrinkle Prevention Pillow claims to “lift and cradle your face” to avoid sleep creasing.
The Intimia Breast Pillow purports to smooth your cleavage by driving a soft wedge between your breasts—but does it work? Plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Medalie cautions against getting your hopes up. “If a product seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” he says. “The pillow may be comfortable, but it is unlikely to make much of a difference in whether your breasts get wrinkles or not.”
If you're looking for a pillow to prevent wrinkles, you'd likely get better results sleeping on one infused with skin toner.