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Our reader Michelle asked:

I’ve been told that there’s a period called the “Golden Hours” for sleeping that can help to optimise skin health. Is it true?


For skin’s natural processes to function optimally it is important to keep skin in a rhythm – repair at night, protect during the day. Night is when skin gets most of its recovery time, therefore night might be called the “Golden Hours.”

Optimal night repair – or “beauty sleep” – depends on both duration of sleep and quality of sleep. The study Estée Lauder commissioned with University Hospitals (UH) Case Western found that poor quality sleepers (generally less than five hours a night) showed accelerated signs of skin aging. Most people require a minimum of six to seven hours of sleep and it’s important to have a regular sleep pattern and go to sleep at a regular time each night in order to establish a rhythm to ensure optimal skin repair.

What happens during “beauty sleep”?

Skin has a circadian rhythm that is synchronized with day or night time. During the day, cellular functions are focused on protecting skin from the environment. During the night, cellular functions are focused on supporting skin repair and recovery.

Additionally, we (Estée Lauder Scientists) are among the first to understand that Catabolysis, a repair mechanism that recycles skin cells’ internal debris, peaks at night and is a critical nighttime cellular repair process. Together, with skin’s circadian rhythm, the discovery of this natural cellular repair function reinforces the critical link between night and skin’s natural repair. When skin cells are synchronized and purified, repair is optimized resulting in younger and more radiant looking skin.

What happens to skin when you don’t get sufficient sleep?

The study conducted with UH Case Medical Center found for the first time that chronic lack of sleep can accelerate signs of skin aging. Additionally, the results indicate that poor quality sleep can slow skin’s natural repair processes. Poor quality sleep is shown to be associated with the following signs of skin aging:

· Acceleration of fine lines

· Increased vulnerability to dehydration due to a more damaged moisture barrier

· Uneven skin tone

When it comes to choosing products for the night regime…

The most important thing at night is to support skin cells’ natural repair and recovery. A skincare product should support these natural functions in order to optimize skin repair and recovery. Advanced Night Repair is a very good example as it is specially formulated with ingredients that support skin’s natural repair and recovery (ChronoluxCB™ Technology for example) but also hydration with Hyaluronic Acid and protection with anti-oxidants.


The Expert

Dr. Nadine Pernodet, Ph.D, Executive Director of Skin Biology, Research & Development, The Estee Lauder Companies