We all know we should be grabbing around eight hours sleep a night, but with increasingly busy lives – not to mention the allure of checking our smartphones before we nod off – many of us are grabbing only five to six hours’ shut-eye a night.

And while we might feel the effects of less sleep on our foggy minds, it’s also having a detrimental effect somewhere else – on our skin.

And we’re not just talking about increased under eye bags or darker circles; a new study by Benson for Beds found that fine lines, wrinkles, redness and age spots were all worse after less than seven or eight hours sleep.

The study was conducted on 30 women across the UK, who were photographed, had their skin tested and asked to answer a survey on their self-esteem and wellbeing following a peaceful eight hours sleep.

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The participants were then asked to sleep for just six hours for the next five nights before having the same tests carried out again.

The results revealed the crazy effects on their skin even over a small period of less sleep. On average, fine lines and wrinkles were increased by 45%, they suffered from more breakouts and spots, brown spots or age spots shot up by 11% and areas of the skin were 8% more red.

In the short term, these effects are minimal but if this sleep patterns continued, the experts suggest that skin would become more sensitive, breakouts would continue and possibly scar, brown spots would become even more discoloured and you could even suffer from premature ageing of the skin.

Supermodel Jodie Kidd, who took part in the study, commented:  “As a busy working mother, it is quite common that I don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep per night. I have never really thought about how this might affect my skin as I have so many other priorities at the moment.

“I sometimes wear a lot of make-up on shoots so need to invest in my skincare routine. Having seen the really quite significant effects of just five nights of six hours sleep, I realise that rest is an important part of it. After taking part in this study with Bensons for Beds I will certainly be paying more attention to my routine and prioritising getting a good night’s sleep.”

Dr Guy Meadows, founder of The Sleep School and leading UK sleep expert, added: “Sleep deprivation is endemic in British society, with almost half of UK people regularly sleeping for 25% less than the recommended seven to eight hours.

“As the results of this study show, not only does this have serious effects on mood, cognitive ability and concentration, but also on appearance and self-esteem. Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and eliminate toxins from the skin. When sleep is reduced, so is the body’s ability to carry out these functions.

“The study showed significant results over a period of just five days, yet the reality is many people are sleeping in this manner for weeks, months and even years, leading to long term consequences for their looks and how they feel about themselves.”

Are the long-term effects enough to make you hit the sack earlier than normal? Share your Comments below.