Beauty sleep is not just a metaphor we use, it is a very real way to help your skin stay young and healthy. It is a safe, free, and you can start as soon as you go to bed tonight. A lack of sleep causes the blood vessels to grow and look darker through the skin, hence the dark puffy circles that appear under your eyes when you cut your sleep short.

The lack of sleep also “makes you look angry, tired, sad, and certainly older,” says New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD. This is an unattractive look for anyone. Add alcohol and smoking into this mix and you are on a road to disaster. Smoking and an angry look on your face will lead to premature wrinkles, while the alcohol will affect the quality of your sleep.

Why Beauty Sleep is so Important

While you sleep, your body goes into a repair mode that heals everything, especially the skin. The skin rejuvenates itself by producing new skin cells to replace the old damaged cells. During sleep, the body goes through metabolic and hormonal changes that can be disrupted and damage your body if you were to interfere with your sleep schedule. Some negative effects you might cause include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.

Getting just one good night of sleep results in noticeable changes in your skin and health. Just think about how much better you feel and look after you get a good night sleep. Imagine the results of getting on a regular schedule would feel. The only catch, getting way too much sleep will have the same effect as too little sleep. So, be careful and figure out the best amount of sleep for your body. See what makes you feel the best.

WebMD’s 5 Steps to Better Beauty Sleep

  1. Start a positive bedtime ritual. “Visualize beautiful, healthy skin as you fall asleep and your body will go in that direction,” Day says.
  2. Get into a sleep habit. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. “That rhythm is good for your skin,” Day says.
  3. Become a back sleeper. Stomach sleeping presses your face into the pillow, creating a meshwork of fine lines and creases when you wake up.
  4. Put a soft cover on your pillow. A pillowcase with a high thread count is kinder to your skin.
  5. Go white for your sheets. Dyes on your sheets and pillowcase can irritate sensitive skin.

Before going to bed, it is also a good idea to do your nightly beauty regimen, wash your face or take a shower. Just to refresh yourself, studies show this can give you a better night sleep as well.

For more information on beauty sleep and the original article visit WebMD.