You might have noticed that your skin looks plumper and brighter when you wake up in the morning compared to at night. It’s not just that you’ve gotten some rest, and you’re not simply imagining it! Peer-reviewed studies have found that your skin is actually thicker in the morning than at night, and wrinkles are less pronounced in the morning as well.
While there’s no doubt that adequate sleep will make you feel and look less tired, wrinkles can’t heal overnight. So what’s happening?
Gravity and dermal fluid in the morning and evening
The biggest impact is gravity. The deeper layers of your skin, the dermis, consists of cells surrounded by liquid called dermal fluid. Dermal fluid isn’t contained within cells (it’s interstitial fluid), so it can move down slowly between the cells in your skin, under the influence of gravity. During the day as you’re upright, the dermal fluid moves towards your legs, but overnight, when your body is horizontal during sleep, dermal fluid settles back. This swells up your facial skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, like pumping water back into a raisin or rehydrating a shriveled, dried sponge.