Everybody knows tat when you’re feeling down, looking good can make you feel better. Unfortunately, sleep problems can take their toll on your looks as well as on your general mood. Even if you don’t aspire to be beautiful, looking like you haven’t slept can be a problem in professional life. So what can you do about it?
The Truth about Beauty Sleep
‘Beauty sleep’ isn’t just a popular phrase – it’s actually true. Sleep is essential to the normal bodily processes that keep our skin and eyes in good condition. This is because our bodies do different things when we’re asleep from when we’re awake. They use that resting time to distribute nutrients to their outer surfaces. Inadequate sleep results in poorly nourished, rough looking skin.
There are two ways to counteract this. The first is to make it easier for the body to transport enough nutrients in a shorter period of time, and the second is to apply them directly via creams and ointments. Exercise also helps, as it stimulates activity in the skin surface during waking hours, and toned muscles make it easier to look alert even when tempted to slouch in exhaustion.
Although it’s not as effective as sleep, resting does help the body to distribute nutrients, especially if you can rest at intervals throughout the day. Just ten minutes of lying down and relaxing every four hours an make a big difference.
Nourishing the Skin
A common problem in relation to insomnia is dehydration of the body surface. The best way to fix this is simply to drink more water, but it’s important to spread this out throughout the day. Plain water is best but fruit juices can also be good, as they help to keep you well nourished and they include easily broken-down sugars that can make you feel more alert. Green tea can help because, despite containing caffeine, it also contains anti-inflammatory agents that help the skin.
The most important vitamin for healthy skin is Vitamin E, which is found in fish, cereals, nuts and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Apples, dairy products, oily fish and eggs are good sources of Vitamin A, which helps to prevent itchy dryness and relieve the dark patches underneath tired eyes.
As well as improving your diet, you can use a gentle moisturiser such as E45 to nourish your skin directly. Products containing lavender and marigold oils are particularly good for soothing and reviving tired skin.
The place where tiredness tends to be most visible is around the eyes. Eyeballs themselves can feel dry, itchy and sore, whilst the delicate skin around them is easily bruised. Drinking more water can help with both, but the best remedies are topical.
For tired eyes and eyelids, try cutting thin slices of raw cucumber or potato and placing them over your closed lids. Let them rest there for five to fifteen minutes. Your skin may feel slightly tingly during this time. Both vegetables contain nutrients which are easily absorbed directly into the tiny blood vessels that flow through the eyelid, and they can quickly revive you, making you feel and look much better.
For dark patches under the eyes, the best remedy is witch hazel ointment, which should be applied sparingly just before bed. Even if you can’t sleep, it will nourish the skin whilst you rest and help to reduce the appearance of bruising. Don’t just try to cover bruises with make-up as this will clog the pores in your skin and make them worse.
Before you use any product near your eyes – even if it’s natural – you should always test it on another patch of skin first, just in case you have an allergy you don’t know about. For most people, however, these remedies are safe and work well. You may still wish you could get a proper night’s rest, but you’ll look as if you’ve slept like a baby.