We all know that sleep is crucial for our overall health. A lack of sleep can lower blood pressure which makes skin look dull. Inadequate sleep can also cause poor circulation, resulting in unattractive puffy eyes and a spike in the stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down collagen, making skin saggier and wrinkles more prominent.

While sleep is important, certain sleep habits can actually do your face more harm than good. Here are five of the worst sleep habits:

1. Sleeping On Your Stomach Or Side

Of all the sleep positions there are, kipping on your stomach or side can have the worst consequences on your physical appearance. Sleeping on your stomach not only causes back pain, but leads to wrinkles as well, because you’re placing your face directly on the pillow, which causes friction on the skin. In fact, stomach sleepers often see more pronounced forehead lines that even heavy retinol can’t cure.

The position causing the second-most amount of damage is sleeping on your side. Side sleepers often see deeper wrinkles or creases on the side of their face that they naturally turn to each night, as well as vertical creases down their cheeks and chin.

If you’re lucky enough to sleep naturally on your back, be sure to keep your head elevated. Sleeping in a flat position allows fluid to gather around the eyes, giving them a puffy appearance the next day.

2. Sleeping With Your Makeup On

Makeup, oil, environmental pollutants, and harmful free radicals you’ve gathered on your skin after a long day of work seeps deep into your pores, causing breakouts and speeding up the ageing process.

Whether you’ve fallen asleep on the couch watching Netflix or were out partying with the girls, be sure to cleanse your face before you hit the sheets. This little bit of effort will go a long way to prevent damaged skin in the future.

3. Dirty Bed Linen

Most of us sleep on average around eight hours a night, which means we spend the other 16 collecting oil, grease, dirt, and grime. When you place your face and body down on the same sheets repeatedly, you’re leaving the day’s residue there to fester and produce even more bacteria. You need to realise that your skin and hair leave oil and buildup that can cause breakouts, inflammation, and irritation and it does’t matter that you shower before bed. At the very minimum, you should wash your sheets at least once a week to avoid this transfer of bacteria, oils, and other impurities.

Invest in a silk pillowcase. Silk prevents creasing and wrinkles on your complexion and creates less friction than cotton so your skin meets less resistance as you sleep.

4. Hair Everywhere

While it feels great to let your hair down while you sleep, it could result in waking up with breakouts. This is because your hair’s natural oils, in addition to any product you might be using (including shampoo and conditioner), can clog your pores and cause irritation. Ideally, your should wear your hair in a loose ponytail or bun and not up too tight, which can cause damage to your strands.

5. Skipping Your Night Cream

Nighttime formulas are specially formulated to support your body’s natural renewal processes and also contain higher concentrations of anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients that target areas of concern while you sleep. So if you are skipping this step, you are doing your skin a disservice.

*Featured image courtesy of L’Oreal.com