Did you know the skin has its own sun protection system?
Emerging evidence suggests that skin cells run on a 24 hour rhythm, influenced by a gland in our brain called the hypothalamus. Overnight the skin cells proliferate to prepare the outer layer for photo and mechanical damage that might ensue in the coming day. In the sunlight hours, the same cells switch on genes that have been shown to have a role in protecting against UV.
Interestingly, and harking back to the role of the gut, a study in 2017 reported increased likelihood of burning in the sun in participants who snacked at midnight. It is has been theorised that eating late at night, convinces the body that it is dinner time and delays activation of the UV-protection-genes, increasing burn susceptibility in the day.
Furthermore, the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin has been shown to directly influence commensal (good) bacteria in the gut and specifically the number of P aerogenes bacteria.
It seems that other than promoting general health and wellbeing…or because sleep is so scrumptious, that sleep is actually necessary for the health of our skin. From the perspective of reducing burning and promoting gut health, sleep may have a role in reducing cancer, though a lot more study would need to be done to exert this claim! That said, sleep is harmless and the benefits are heavily stacked, so why not?!
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