Bedtime is meant to be when you unwind from the pressures of your day, relax your brain and get ready to gently drift off into snooze land. Many prefer to curl up with a good book in bed, while others use this preslumber period to think about the events of the preceding hours. However, one thing that folks are likely not giving much thought to as their heads hit the pillow is taking care of their skin. 

Just because you're not busy overnight doesn't mean that your skin is equally idle. In fact, it's even possible to wake up with your skin looking older and more aged, if you're not careful. Before you dive under the covers this evening, here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your skin gets its beauty sleep.

Keep it clean
Once you don your PJs and before you climb into bed, there's another important stop you should be sure to make every night. Your parents likely told you time and time again when you were a child to wash your face before bed, but as an adult, this piece of advice takes on a whole new importance. Throughout the day, the sweat and dirt, not to mention makeup, that accumulates on your face can clog pores. Not rinsing off before bed keeps your pores clogged and your face under attack from dirt and grime. 

As The News On Sunday reported, leaving makeup on overnight can lead to acne from clogged pores, which can vary in severity and even lead to acne scarring in severe cases. Even worse, this sort of prolonged exposure to cosmetics can actually negatively impact your skin, causing you to build up an intolerance to your makeup of choice – a veritable allergy to your favorite cosmetics.

Not only can not washing up prior to bed cause potential skin damage, but it can also prevent your skin from taking natural steps to repair itself. The Huffington Post reported on the wisdom of dermatologist Dr. Laurie Polis, noting that nighttime skin repair such as increased bloodflow and additional metabolic processes can be stunted or stopped by the presence of skin-clogging cosmetics, and if you continue the trend, you run the risk of ending up with older-looking skin down the road as a result of these missed opportunities. Even skincare products and alleged miracle creams that are designed to reduce signs of aging can have exactly the opposite effect if left on overnight.

Draw the shades
You likely know the danger the sun can pose to your skin in the form of harmful ultraviolet rays. You know to cover up, stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen when venturing outside. But did you know that just because you're indoors doesn't mean that you're safe from the sun? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays stay strong year round, and can often affect people through their windows. This can lead to asymmetrical facial damage, especially if you consistently face one side toward the window when you sleep.

This is especially true during periods when snow has accumulated on the ground, as the source reminded that snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV light from the sun. You may be tempted to perch in front of a window while working or to let the sun wake you up in the morning – especially as the days get shorter and we move into autumn – but be aware of the potential damage to your skin this can cause. Preventing sun damage is a year-long endeavor. 

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