What if the fountain of youth was a real thing? Turns out, it is. Here’s the best part–it’s waiting for you in your own bedroom. Get your head out of the gutter, tiger. We’re talking about sleep. High-quality, delicious sleep that leaves you feeling rested and restored. Not convinced? Behold the science:

High-quality sleep means fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Did you know that collagen is produced during sleep? This crucial protein is responsible for supple, healthy skin (among other things.) If you’re not getting enough good sleep, collagen production plummets, and that means more fine lines and wrinkles. “Only getting 5 hours of sleep a night can lead to twice as many fine lines as sleeping 7 would.” (according to wedmd.com)

Eyes don’t lie: poor or inadequate sleep means puffiness and dark circles.

Lack of sleep can cause blood to pool up under eyes, resulting in dark circles and puffiness or “bags” beneath them. This is largely due to lack of oxygen. In fact, sleep apnea, a condition that causes someone to stop breathing during sleep, is often the culprit for bags that no amount of concealer can correct. According to Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, “The tissue under our eyes is quite thin and when our body’s oxygen stores move toward the low end of the spectrum, bags can develop as a result.” (www.curemysleepapnea.com)

Want a glowing complexion? Earn it with zzz’s!

Natural blood flow gets a big boost during sleep, which is why we wake up with a fresh “glowy” look when we’ve clocked in a quality night’s rest. On the flip side, if you’re not sleeping enough, your complexion will show it. Less blood flow and moisture will dramatically drop the ph level of skin, drying and dulling the face, and causing redness and uneven, breakout-prone skin.

Poor sleep means increased cortisol, and cortisol is not your hair’s friend.

Lack of quality sleep causes cortisol levels to spike, leading to hair loss. If that wasn’t bad enough, decreased blood flow due to sleep deprivation keeps key nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from reaching hair follicles, making it prone to breakage and damage.

Virility and sleep are directly linked.

Sleep is directly linked to libido and testosterone levels, which are important for both men and women when it comes to sex drive. A recent study examined the relationship between sleep deprivation and virility in a group of men and found that “when deprived of sleep, the testosterone levels of those men dropped by 10 – 15%.” (see more on that study here)

Better sleep means more energy, which means having more exercise and making better choices.

When we’re well-rested, we have the energy to make good choices for our bodies. Conversely, when we’re chronically tired, we tend to reach for things that are of the instant-gratification category (think: sugar-laden energy drinks, doughnuts, and fatty fast foods.) These choices not only impact the number on the scale, but can cause uncomfortable bloating as well. Not to mention that the number-one source of instant energy, our good ol’ pal caffeine, causes additional dehydration, which leads to more fine lines and wrinkles. One of the biggest symptoms of sleep apnea is weight gain, and it makes sense. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t have the energy to work out or choose nutrient-dense foods over high-sugar, high-fat options. Of course, these choices only cause more weight gain, which exacerbates the apnea even further in a vicious spiral of misery.

If you’re suffering from poor or inadequate sleep, take a good hard look at your symptoms. Are you waking up with dry mouth, sore throat, or morning headaches? Are you experiencing extreme daytime sleepiness or mood swings? Are you overweight, or have recently begun to gain weight? Does your partner tell you that you snore or stop breathing during sleep? These are all signs of sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that leads to all kinds of bad developments (the least of which are your puffy eyes and dull skin.) Learn more here: 6 Dangerous Myths About Sleep Apnea That Need to Be Busted Also here: 8 Reasons Why You’re Waking Up Feeling Exhausted.

If you suspect you might have sleep apnea (or have been diagnosed but can’t tolerate your CPAP therapy), you should meet with a provider as soon as possible to discuss testing and treatment options! Click here to find a provider near you!