Getting a good night sleep is at the cornerstone of most great things in life. Fairly basic elements such as feeling rested and better the next day, being more productive, having more energy and generally being a nicer human being. But there also some very specific things that getting a good night’s sleep can help with. Apparently after a good night’s rest you are more likely to make healthier food choices the following day because you don’t crave the energy hit that a sugar burst can give you. Not only that, but a study carried out by the University of Stockholm revealed that people who slept well were perceived to be more attractive than those who were sleep deprived. Harsh but true.
In the study people were photographed once after a good night’s sleep, and once after they had been awake for 31 hours. 40 people were then asked to rate each picture on how tired, sad and attractive the subjects looked and unsurprisingly it wasn’t the photos after a dreamy forty winks where people looked their worst. In the sleep deprived pictures, people’s eyes were redder, more swollen, they had dark circles and the eyelids were drooping. They also appeared to look paler, have more wrinkles and the corners of their mouths were saggier. Never before have the words ‘beauty sleep’ held more resonance.
And frustratingly it seems men are better at hitting the hay than women. A university in the UK that specialises in sleep studies found that nearly one in five women have a bad night’s sleep five days a week, compared to only 8% men. And of course, we all know what the sleep-interrupting culprits are; stress, poor diet, children’s restless sleep patterns and perhaps the one we’re most guilty of, electronic devices that steal out attention away from shutting down and engage our brain till the early hours. So what do we do? Well, a double-pronged approach is required. The first is to implement some lifestyle changes to ensure you get the best night’s sleep you possibly can.
The second is getting the max out of your beauty products so that when sleep still alludes, you can fake a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed appearance, even when the reality is far from this.
Let your new sleep lessons begin.
How to get a good night’s sleep
Schedule it in
We book in and diarise every element of our life; blow dries, dinner with friends, date nights so why wouldn’t you book in time to make sure you switch off properly and rest properly? The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule of the same time of going to bed and waking up, even on the weekend to help get you into a solid routine.
Bathe to bedtime
Author of sleep guide, Counting Sheep, Paul Martin suggests taking a warm bath before bedtime. Not only because it’s calming and soothing, but just before you fall asleep your body temperature drops. It’s this signal that tells your body that it’s ready to go to sleep. By raising your body temperature artificially it will then drop, signalling the start of a good night’s sleep. However it’s important to not opt for a scorching hot bath. “A really hot bath will keep your body temperature raised, making you hot and uncomfortable. A warm bath will raise your temperature before allowing your body to cool down to the temperature comfortable for sleep,” Paul says.
We are addicted to our smartphones. You don’t need us to tell you that and our need to be constantly online is affecting our slumber. “We all have a hard time disconnecting from our technology and going to sleep,” explains Arianna Huffington, publisher of The Huffington Post and sleep evangelist (the title she’s given herself on her Instagram profile). “That’s why many of us wake up in the middle of the night, reaching for the phone to immediately strike up a texting conversation or check the news. And it makes it even harder to go back to sleep because the blue light emitted acts as a stimulant.” She recommends switching off all your devices 30 minutes before bedtime and putting them anywhere other than your bedroom so you’re not tempted to check them in the middle of the night.
Wearing the right outfit to bed can also have an impact on catching better zzzz’s. The National Sleep Foundation suggests choosing something that fits loosely so it can move around with you as you sleep, nothing too heavy such as fleece or wool as you may overheat and a fabric that feels comfortable on your skin. Cotton, silk or bamboo all keep your body temperature regulated so you won’t get too hot or too cold making these the best options for your new sleepwear purchases.
Also read: Does drinking water help acne?
How to fake a good night’s sleep
Let there be light
If sleep is something that alludes you on a regular basis you’re going to want to invest in skincare that is, over time, going to help give your skin the extra fuel it needs to get it looking its best. That means feeding it with as many antioxidants as possible on a regular basis.
Antioxidants will help encourage your skin to do all the repairing and healing it needs to do from the aggressors it’s faced with, such as pollution, UV rays and stress (from not getting any sleep!). It also makes complete sense to either opt for a moisturiser that contains pearlescent, light-reflecting particles, or apply an illuminating cream over the top, as it is these glow-giving beauties that will create the instant effect of your skin looking far more wide awake than you feel.
1. Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse, Dh145
2. Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Morning Aura Illuminating Creme, Dh346
The eyes have it
The first signs of fatigue will normally show itself around the eyes. This is because when we’re tired our body produces more of a steroid hormone called cortisol. This helps boost our energy levels. A higher production of cortisol leads to more blood being produced and our blood vessels have to dilate to try and accommodate this higher volume and get it to where it’s needed. The downside of that is that the thin and delicate skin around our peepers are so translucent that it’s actually expanded blood vessels that we see as dark circles.
Whilst there’s little we can do to prevent the blood vessels expanding apart from, you guessed it, getting more sleep, a clever eye cream will hydrate the skin as much as possible to prevent it looking crêpe-thin, and keep the skin barrier as robust as possible so that dark circles don’t appear as bad. Of course, an immediate course of action is to apply concealer and the trick is here is not to opt for an illuminating option as it can make dark circles appear more blue-grey. Instead, go matte and apply in a triangle shape down towards your cheek, dabbing (not wiping) into place with your ring finger.
3. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix, Dh469
4. Smashbox Studio Skin 24 Hour Concealer, Dh131
CC cream, conceal and carry on
“Tired skin looks sallow and, quite frankly, tired!” says makeup artist Aimee Adams. “Whilst I could recommend spending hours buffing in foundation, concealer, powder and the whole works, the reason your skin looks tired is because you are tired so chances are you want something that’s easy to use, quick to apply and makes an instant difference. This is where BB and CC creams really come into their own as they contain everything you and your skin needs to look instantly pepped up. They usually appear a little grey when you squeeze them out but they magically transform to your skin’s colour when applied. And then the genius kicks in as they contain colour correctors that take away any sallowness and counter balance the appearance of dark circles around the eyes as well as light reflecting particles to give your skin that instant lift and boost of energy. They don’t have the high coverage of foundation so you can either apply a few layers or go in with a concealer afterwards to cover-up any areas that need extra TLC.”
5. Erborian BB Creme, Dh180
6. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Dh159
If in doubt, add blush
According to the Stockholm based sleep study, people who don’t get enough sleep looked paler compared to those that have had a great night’s sleep. Therefore, if you wake up feeling shattered it’s time to reach for the blusher to add an instant hit of colour to your cheeks. This also creates the illusion of energy and life in your skin, when you actually probably feel like you’re dying on your feet. When it comes to picking the correct hue, makeup artists agree that for a natural, healthy, flushed look - which is exactly what’s required here - you need to go for the colour your cheeks turn when you outside on a really cold day or after an intense workout. Cream, powder or tint doesn’t matter, just get the colour right and get it onto the apples of your cheeks pronto!
7. YSL Blush Volupté, Dh221