Ever gone to bed with a monster zit and found it much less ferocious the next morning after a long snooze? Puffy eyes, dark circles and even wrinkles can be treated by getting anywhere between the recommended 8 hours and 100 years of sleep (if you’re a Disney princess). So what’s the deal with beauty sleep? Is it for real? How can you get some? And can you fake it?
Is beauty sleep for real?
It’s the treatment method you can prescribe for yourself, but does it work? Science says yes. According to a Swedish study being well rested does make you more attractive. They examined the effects of sleep deprivation on your appearance and found that participants rated tired people as less attractive. Signs of fatigue include paler skin, redder eyes, drooping lips and glazed eyes. In another smaller study, researchers from the University of Michigan measured the attractiveness of patients undergoing treatment for sleep apnea. They too found that better sleep resulted in higher levels of attractiveness.
While we are asleep our body repairs itself helping us to wake up looking fresher, younger, and in turn more beautiful. During deep sleep there is a surge in growth hormones which help rejuvenate your skin and boost collagen. At around 2am cell division peaks, whether you’re awake or not. If you reach deep sleep by this time you’ll have the combined effects of fast cell division and extra growth hormones helping your body heal effectively. Activating collagen is an essential factor in reducing wrinkles which is how facial fillers and similar cosmetic procedures work. On the flip side; not getting enough sleep is a sure-fire way to increase the production of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. The negative effects of cortisol include redness and inflammation, acne, eczema and psoriasis.
You’re probably thinking at this point 100 years of sleep prescribed by Disney is the answer. But you’d be wrong. Getting a higher quantity of sleep won’t help at all if it isn’t quality. In fact, according to South Korean research you’re putting yourself at risk of heart disease with less than 5 hours or more than 9 hours of sleep per night. Quality sleep also helps you reach the deep sleep stages which is where that all-important rejuvenation occurs.
How to get better sleep
Sticking within the recommended 7-8 hour window of quality sleep is what will transform it into beauty sleep. So it’s about time you took a look at your sleeping arrangements. Here’s 3 things that may be keeping you from quality sleep and how to fix them:
You have to share a bed
Some nights you’re glad you have a partner to cuddle up against and others their noise or movements have kept you up all night. To make sure you’re both achieving solid beauty sleep opt for the biggest bed your room will allow. This should leave space for tossing and turning without any kicking or screaming. If your partner is a restless sleeper consider swapping to a new memory foam mattress. They’re specially designed to minimise partner disturbance by distributing weight evenly.
You stress over lost sleep
It’s a common trap; you tell yourself if you fall asleep within the next 3.5 minutes you’ll squeeze exactly 8 hours in before your alarm. This has to be the biggest mistake you can make. Get rid of your clock to force yourself to stop checking the time. It’s only causing stress which leads to adrenaline keeping you awake longer and cortisol production causing unattractive inflammation the next morning.
You’re too hot
Body temperature is a key factor in falling asleep quickly. Your body cools itself down while you’re asleep and warms back up as a signal to wake. The optimum temperature for falling asleep is between 15-20 degrees in your room. It may sound crazy but wearing socks to bed can actually help cool your body down faster. It improves your circulation which helps your core body to cool down faster and has a similar effect to a nice cool room.
How to look awake with makeup
In an ideal world we’d all be enjoying nightly beauty sleep. But this world is far from ideal so we’ve found ways to fake that fresh-faced look when you really need it.
Get rid of puffy eyes
Cold temperatures work wonders to reduce swelling. If you’ve woken up with some major puffy bags try popping a couple teaspoons in the freezer while you make breakfast. Once chilled apply them to your eye sockets, curved side in. Or make use of cold tea bags from your morning cup. Squeeze out the excess liquids and press them onto your eyes. The tannins in the tea are great at constricting blood vessels which also helps eliminate dark circles.
Brighten your eyes
As studies have shown, dull or red eyes are a common sign of tiredness. Use white or nude eyeshadows and eyeliners to brighten them up a bit. Apply bright white in the inner corners of your eye near the tear ducts for a dewy, wide-eyed effect. Or line your lower waterline in nude for a similar wide-awake look.
Cover dark circles
For darker skinned ladies reach for your red lipstick. The red-orange hues are the perfect counter to those dark-blue circles. Our fairer friends can add a dab of green concealer to bring down the lipstick colour enough for foundation to cover. When you do head for the concealer be sure to apply in a triangle underneath your eye for the illusion of a mini facelift. Blend out gently with your ring finger to avoid damaging your delicate under eye area.
Arch those brows
Draw attention away from tired eyes with stunningly sculpted eyebrows. Use a mixture of creamy pencil and powder brow fillers to achieve a natural, feathery look.
Add colour to your complexion
Pale or dull skin is another sure sign of tiredness. Combat this with a dab of illuminator mixed in with your foundation for an all over glow. Finish off with a touch of blush on the apples of your cheeks. A very gentle tap is the aim here. You just want to look slightly flushed and blooming.
Skip the dramatic lipstick
You may have been excited to try out your new vampy lip shade but a tired looking day is not the moment. Using dark colours on your lips will draw more attention to dark under-eye circles and dull skin. Go for a pink-nude shade similar to your natural lips instead for a fresh look that will have people asking if you woke up like this.
The science is in and beauty sleep is most definitely real. Your best bet is focusing on 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to wake up flawless. But for those weeks that sleep is low priority you could always turn to makeup for a quick fix.