New Research: Beauty Sleep – Does More Sleep Make Your Skin Look Younger, Better?
“You look tired — ” I’m never quite sure how to respond to this comment, especially if it’s early in the morning — and I’ve actually had a good night’s sleep. Evidently, some of us don’t look as good as we feel in the morning. Maybe we just need a little more beauty sleep.
It turns out that beauty sleep isn’t as mysterious as it might sound. It’s also known as deep, restful sleep or sleep before midnight, and it’s really nothing more than 7 to 9 hours of ordinary sleep. Don’t let that discourage you; recent research proves that if you’re well rested, you’re more attractive, so ordinary sleep is worth your time.
The proper amount of sleep allows your body to produce collagen that promotes firm, supple, hydrated and healthy-looking skin. Deep sleep stimulates the release of human growth hormone that promotes cell repair, and inhibits thin,
loose-looking skin. So, what prompts someone to say, “You look tired,” even after you’ve had a long
night’s sleep? For most of us, it’s probably the dark circles or puffy bags under
Dark circles can be inherited genetically via melanin, the pigment that colors skin. Those of you, who can blame your dark circles on heredity, may want to try topical supplements with vitamin C, which reduces melanin production and
results in lighter skin. For those of you who can’t blame your parents — continue reading.
Allergies, sinus congestion, medication, and swinging monthly hormones can all lead to dark or puffy skin under your eyes. If any of these issues are familiar to you, then talk to your doctor about a remedy; it might be as simple as an over- the-counter antihistamine, or nasal decongestant.
Sleep can be another problem. If you sleep horizontally for hours at a time, and most of us do, gravity can cause fluid to accumulate under your eyes, giving you dark or puffy circles. You can prevent the build up of fluid by elevating your head on an extra pillow. If that doesn’t work, your dark circles may be due to dilated blood vessels under the skin. To find out if this is the problem, try applying something cool or cold onto the affected area, such as: ice cubes, chilled spoons, cold packs, or cool cucumber slices. Coldness can reduce swelling, constrict blood vessels and visibly lighten your skin.
Something very cold, such as ice, should only be used for 10-minute periods with 10-minute breaks in between; if your skin cools too much (below 59ºF), blood flow to your face will actually increase, rendering your efforts useless. Applying cool, damp, caffeinated tea bags or caffeinated facial cream under your eyes can also fade the appearance of dark vessels and lessen puffiness. Caffeine is the key; it constricts blood vessels and decreases water retention.
For some of you, hemorrhoid cream may do the trick, because it shrinks blood vessels, reduces swelling and tightens skin — even under your eyes. But beware: it’s not recommended for long-term use, and some people have had adverse
Other effective topical supplements contain vitamin K, vitamin E and retinol, which help fade dark circles caused by visible blood flow. Retinol promotes collagen production that encourages bright, strong, and smooth skin. Unfortunately, the positive effects of retinol will disappear if you discontinue use. Finally, there’s a four-letter word you may hear other people saying over and over again: “diet.” Thin, translucent, under eye skin is often an indication of dehydration; swelling may be a sign of someone who eats salt with their food. Remember that other annoying phrase, “You are what you eat?” Well, that also applies to the way our skin looks and feels, along with the proper amount of sleep.
- R. London Griffin, research chemist
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