03/15/2015 11:24 EDT | Updated 03/15/2015 11:59 EDT

While You Were Sleeping: Skin-Saving Strategies You Can Start Tonight

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Young woman in bed, portrait

If you want your skin to look its best, make sleep a top priority. How much sleep you get (and the quality of said sleep) has a direct impact of your overall health and your complexion. With that in mind, it’s time to review your good and bad habits and make some healthy changes to your bedtime routine.

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Say goodbye to these five bad beauty busting habits….

1. Sleeping too little

Did you know that a lack of slumber ages your skin? Your body releases too little of the hormones you need and too much of the ones you don’t want, like cortisol, which wreaks havoc on skin elasticity.

2. Failing to remove your makeup

Dirt, oil and makeup can build up on the skin and cause blocked pores. That could mean a nasty zit come morning. Too tired for a trip to the bathroom to wash? Tuck a package of pre-moistened cleansing cloths by your bedside to wipe away grime quickly.

3. Keeping an erratic nighttime schedule

Researchers now say irregular sleep patterns are just as bad as a lack of sleep. When you don’t have deep, restorative sleep, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to repair itself; your body repairs itself while you sleep, and a full (and regular) sleep cycle makes that process easier. Stick to a regular bedtime and try to get at least six to eight hours of undisrupted sleep.

4. Sleeping on your stomach

It’s time to break the habit if you’re someone who prefers to sleep with your face buried in the pillow. The combination of body heat and gravity is bad for your skin. Switch to sleeping on your side or back, or risk a boost in wrinkles.

5. Skip the nightcap

While a bit of booze might help you take the edge off a stress-filled day and get you asleep faster, it isn’t a wise tactic. It’s actually a stimulant that will disturb your sleep part way through and can lead to dehydration, leading to skin dryness. Sip caffeine-free herbal tea instead.

…. And adopt these five skin-boosting sleep habits instead:

1. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase

These smooth fabrics lessen the amount of friction between skin and pillowcase. You’ll get fewer wrinkles in the long run, and, as a bonus, you’ll wake up with less knots and tangles in your hair.

2. Apply night cream before you hit the hay

Nighttime is when your skin works hardest on skin repair. A good cream, one that contains moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, works even better when applied for the evening restoration cycle.

3. Keep it clean and banish bacteria

It’s important to wash up with a gentle cleanser before bedtime to remove all traces of makeup and dirt, but it’s no good then to head to bed and put your face on a bacteria-laden pillowcase. Change them at least once a week.

4. Get good quality sleep by turning off your electronics

The latest research has been focusing on the negative effects of light on the quality of sleep. Alarm clocks, smart phones and tablets all emit light that fools your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up. Turn off all electronics and keep your bedroom dark.

5. Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom

Drinking plenty of water is essential for you to maintain your skin’s moisture levels. Using a humidifier helps to keep dryness at bay. You’ll also want to stay away from eating salt laden foods around bedtime to stave off dehydration.