Collagen – An Insomniac’s Skin Saviour
If you are an insomniac, you have likely seen the effects of a bad night on your skin. It’s not like we need to be told that we look worse-for-wear after a good sleep but as it happens, The Telegraph recently reported that sleep deprivation (even two hours – YIKES!) does in fact have noticeably ageing effects on the skin – it can make you look ten years older! Well, as a recovered insomniac, I can testify that not only did I feel old for not sleeping, but I certainly didn’t look my best either. Sleep is an opportunity for rest, repair and detoxification. There is a hormonal shift at night that stimulates skin repair as we enter our deeply restorative stages of sleep. However, this process is prevented as we lay awake with stress hormones running high, circulation to the skin diminished and collagen production is reduced.
Collagen is an important protein, providing elasticity and structure associated with youthful, supple skin. When collagen production is reduced, the skin shows more noticeable signs of aging by becoming thinner and less firm, making wrinkles more prominent. Chronic stress– high levels of cortisol, poor nutrition and lack of sleep negatively affects collagen production.
Nutrition is a key factor for influencing skin health and appearance. Collagen intake through the diet has reduced over the last several decades as the more wealthy and westernised societies have become, the more they have reduced their consumption of collagen-rich foods. Nose to tail eating, which was a more traditional and economical way of eating meat, included meat cooked on the bone (for example ham hock, oxtail, shin of beef, lamb shank, cheeks) and included cooking the skin of the animal too. Most of the body’s collagen is found in connective tissue in the skin and around the bones hence why cuts of meat containing bone are the highest in collagen. This style of eating has been replaced in favour of more convenient off-the-bone cuts of meat such as chicken breasts and minced beef, which naturally has much lower collagen content.
Collagen supplementation provides the amino acids which are then used in the process of collagen production. We have included some scientific research at the end of this blog which prove that collagen supplementation does indeed help to support youthful looking skin. It was with this in mind that we included a shot of collagen in our go-to drink, Beauty Sleep. During sleep, we heal and repair and our skin is a witness to that. So you can start to see how helping you get good quality, restorative sleep, PLUS an added shot of collagen, almost sounds like a dream come true for our skin.
But the benefits of collagen do not begin and end on the skin. They are far wider reaching than that. The amino acids in collagen have broadly protective anti-inflammatory effects on the body, including the brain. The fact that insomnia increases the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, strongly suggests to us that nourishing the brain whilst we sleep can only be a good thing.
For more detailed information on the whole-body benefits of collagen consumption, read this excellent article by Dr Ray Peat:
Read below for scientific research supporting the role of collagen supplementation for youthful skin:
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Dec;14(4):291-301. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Asserin J1, Lati E2, Shioya T3, Prawitt J4.
“Oral collagen peptide supplementation significantly increased skin hydration after 8 weeks of intake. The collagen density in the dermis significantly increased and the fragmentation of the dermal collagen network significantly decreased already after 4 weeks of supplementation. Both effects persisted after 12 weeks.”
Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Proksch E1, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S.
“After 4 weeks of follow-up treatment, a statistically significantly higher skin elasticity level was determined in elderly women. With regard to skin moisture and skin evaporation, a positive influence of CH treatment could be observed in a subgroup analysis, but data failed to reach a level of statistical significance. No side effects were noted throughout the study.”
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2006 Jun;52(3):211-5. Effects of ingestion of collagen peptide on collagen fibrils and glycosaminoglycans in the dermis. Matsuda N1, Koyama Y, Hosaka Y, Ueda H, Watanabe T, Araya T, Irie S, Takehana K.
“These results suggest that ingestion of collagen peptide induces increased fibroblast density and enhances formation of collagen fibrils in the dermis in a protein-specific manner.”
“There was a significant improvement in knee joint comfort as assessed by visual analogue scales to assess pain and the Womac pain subscale. Subjects with the greatest joint deterioration, and with least intake of meat protein in their habitual diets, benefited most.”
Collagen (also synonymous with gelatin) used to be a natural part of a traditional diet.