Jodie Kidd reveals the shocking impact sleep deprivation can have on our skin

Anti-aging moisturisers, blemish-hiding foundations, colour correctors… it costs money to look good. And if the contents of your bathroom cabinet are worth a small fortune, you’re not alone. Women spend £8.9 billion pounds a year on beauty products in the UK, with that number set to rise to an eye-watering £10 billion by 2017. [1]

Well there might be another way to achieve that dewy, fresh-faced complexion we all crave – and it won’t cost you a penny, either.

We all know the health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, but now our research reveals it can be just as beneficial for your skin.

Jodie Kidd takes part in our study

Model and TV presenter Jodie Kidd, 38, took part in our week-long experiment, along with 29 other female volunteers.

Jodie explained to us why she was so keen to find out the skin-sapping effects of inadequate rest. “As a busy working mother, it is quite common that I don’t get seven to eight hours’ sleep.”

We asked Jodie and our intrepid volunteers to sleep for the recommended eight hours then tested their skin with a Visia – a machine which measures spots, pores, red areas, brown spots and bacteria, all of which affect the overall look of the face.

We then asked them to get just six hours’ sleep a night for the next five nights and repeated the tests again.

Jodie’s startling results are revealed

Our tests revealed Jodie had noticeable short-term damage after being sleep deprived for five days in a row – something that’s strikingly clear from her before and after photos.

Effects of lack of sleep     Sleep deprivation

          Jodie after sleeping for eight hours                                      Jodie after sleeping for six hours

After receiving her results, a shocked Jodie told us, “I have never really thought about how lack of sleep might affect my skin, as I have so many other priorities at the moment.

“I sometimes wear a lot of make-up on shoots so need to invest in my skincare routine. Having seen the really quite significant effects of just five nights of six hours’ sleep, I realise that rest is an important part of it.”

How did the other participants fare?

Jodie’s results were staggering, but they were mirrored by the other participants, too.

Fine lines and wrinkles increased by a 45% on average. Red areas on the skin increased by 8% and brown spots by 11%.

Pimples also increased (by 13%) and the overall visibility of these spots by 7%. Worryingly, the number of porphyrins (bacteria on the skin) also increased by 16%, on average.
Some volunteers even had more dramatic changes, such as a 127% increase in spots and an increase in red areas by 68%.

After surviving on six hours of sleep, every participant in the test agreed she felt less attractive and had lower self-esteem. In fact, we saw a 20% decline in self-esteem over the course of the study and participants felt 33% less attractive at the end of the test than they did at the start.

Time for an early night!

While our study showed significant results over five days, the reality is that many of us aren’t getting enough sleep for months – or even years. In fact, 46% of the nation admit to regularly cutting their sleep time down to just six hours. [2]

So is it time we stopped spending so much of our money on the latest miracle creams and just concentrated on getting our 40 winks instead? Jodie certainly thinks so. “After taking part in this study I’ll certainly be paying more attention to my routine and prioritising getting a good night’s sleep.”

And after seeing the dramatic photos showing premature ageing of the skin and poor complexion after just five nights, looks like we’re going to be turning in early tonight, too.



[1] As found by a survey commissioned by Bensons for Beds in 2015 to over 13,000 people in the UK

[2] Mintel market report 2013





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Dr Guy Meadows

Dr Guy Meadows is a leading sleep physiologist and co-founder of The Sleep School. He has dedicated the last 13 years to sleep research and the prevention of sleeping disorders.

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