By Sarah Taylor
For many of us September’s arrival signals the end of the summer holidays and a return to a busier routine. This, in turn, can lead to us sacrificing sleep in an attempt to fit everything into our relentlessly packed schedules. However, scrimping on sleep is false economy, as good quality sleep has a positive impact on every area of our lives, and it’s restorative effects are particularly noticeable on our appearance – after all it isn’t called beauty sleep for nothing!
In fact, it has been shown that the effects of sleep deprivation on our skin are far from pretty. The results of a study published in the journal ‘Sleep’ (Sundelin et al, 2013) found that fatigue shows in sleep deprived faces in the form of red or swollen eyes, dark under eye circles, increased wrinkles and droopier eyelids. So, with lack of sleep causing such disastrous consequences for our skin it’s clear to see that we should be making getting enough sleep a priority.
Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, clocking up the recommended 7 – 8 hours sleep a night isn’t always possible, so, I’ve put together some simple tips to help make the most of however much (or little!) sleep you do get, and have you waking up looking rested, refreshed and ready to face the world.
If you only do one thing for your skin make it this! Sleeping in your make-up can cause irritation, contribute to breakouts and over time can lead to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. This is due to the action of free radicals picked up from pollutants in the environment (which make-up holds on to) that cause the breakdown of collagen, and the prevention of microcirculation, which is an important part of skin’s renewal process that takes place while we are asleep.
Hydrate and moisturise
We naturally lose moisture during the sleeping process, so it’s a good idea to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the evening in the run up to bedtime, and apply moisturiser after cleansing. Products containing hyaluronic acid or shea butter are particularly beneficial for dry skin as they attract and hold onto moisture. If your skin is extremely dry or dehydrated you may want to consider using a humidifier in your bedroom to add moisture to the air.
Invest in a night cream
Take advantage of your skins natural overnight repair and regeneration function by incorporating a night cream or serum into your skincare routine. These products often contain higher levels of active ingredients (such as Retinol) than daytime moisturisers as they are specifically formulated for use at night, therefore minimizing the risk of irritation from UV exposure.
Puffiness can be a problem (particularly around the eyes) if you don’t get enough sleep, as a lack of sleep can cause the body to hold on the sodium and fluid. To combat puffiness look for products containing caffeine to boost that all-important microcirculation. Ensure that you are not overloading the delicate eye area with too much product (an amount the size of a grain of rice per eye is enough) and be careful not to drag the skin. If puffiness persists try sleeping with an additional pillow to help reduce fluid build up.
Overnight is the best time to tackle specific skin problems such as breakouts as we are less likely to touch our faces while we’re asleep, and we don’t need to worry about layering any other products, such as make-up, over any spot treatment giving it optimum chance to work. Go for products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide avoiding the temptation to overuse them as they can lead to dryness or flaking.
So if you find yourself short on shuteye give these tips a try and make hearing that dreaded “ Are you ok? You look a bit tired” line a thing of the past.