Sometimes a bad night’s sleep is inevitable, whether it’s because you’re worrying about a meeting the next day, you can’t get comfortable or you’re woken by something in the night. Feeling tired is one thing, but looking tired is the last thing you need when you have a big day ahead. Here’s how to cheat your way out of tired, lacklustre skin so that no one will need to know that you got less than your 8 hours of shut-eye.
Your skin can tell if you haven't slept
“Beauty sleep” is not a fad: if you’re not getting enough sleep, it will show on your face. When we sleep, our skin undergoes a renewal process by making new collagen and repairing damage from UV exposure. This gives our skin its bounce, luminosity and prevents sagging and wrinkles. When we don’t get enough sleep, our skin can look dull, wrinkles can appear more prominent and your face can look puffy—especially around the eyes. Sleep deprivation can also cause blood circulation to slow, causing blood to pool around the eyes and presenting as dark circles.
The importance of sleep for skin
The body is programmed to have periods of peak activity during the day and periods when it is more relaxed at night—this is known as our circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. The circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that governs your body's internal clock. It’s controlled by a group of neurons in the brain, and it's responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness, as well as skin health. When you go to bed at night with the intention of getting quality sleep, your brain starts preparing for it by releasing melatonin into your bloodstream. This hormone helps regulate your circadian rhythm so that you feel sleepy when it’s time to hit the hay—and alert when it’s time to wake up. When this is interrupted for too long, it can cause stress hormones like cortisol to build up in our bodies, leading to inflammatory skin problems such as acne breakouts or eczema.
Healthy skin habits
If you want to fake a great night’s sleep, then it's important to maintain healthy skin habits for optimum resilience. Before you hit the hay, remove your makeup. Making sure you cleanse effectively—that means no quick rub with a make-up wipe—can help you to avoid clogged pores and a breakout the next day. If you can’t muster the energy to wash your face with water, opt for Medik8’s Micellar Cleanse with a cotton or resusable microfibre pad. As for the morning, use SPF daily since repeated exposure to UV rays from the sun depletes collagen.
How to get a good nights sleep
Sleep in a cool room. Sleeping in an overheated room can disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to restless nights. Chose natural fabrics for your bedding (and pajamas, if you wear them) which can breathe and help to regulate your body temperature.
Don't use your phone or laptop before bed. The blue light from electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin, which helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle and makes it harder for you to fall asleep at night, plus it can penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature ageing. If you must use your phone, set it to night mode. Try to unwind with a book instead and put down electronics at least one hour prior to going to bed each night; this will help ensure better quality rest.
Follow a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day of the week. This will help your body get in sync with its natural rhythm.
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol at night. Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep, while alcohol may cause you to wake up more frequently during the night.
How to make your skin look more awake
Addressing sleep issues first will always benefit your skin the most, but using products that stimulate collagen production like Medik8 Liquid Peptides may help to mitigate the effects of a restless night. Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which means that they're a type of protein. They're found throughout the body in various tissues and organs, including the skin.
To really amp up your overnight skincare, try Medik8’s best-ever anti-ageing product, r-Retinoate Intense—an all-in-one night cream that is 8 times stronger than Retinol and works 11 times faster. With anti-ageing vitamin A, plumping ceramides and repairing peptides, it delivers ultimate skin rejuvenation. While you’re phasing it into your routine, alternate it with the hydrating Medik8 Advanced Night Restore which still offers ceramides and peptides in its Midnight Repair Complex while giving your skin a break from vitamin A. Don’t forget about your delicate neck and eye area—hydrate the area from décolleté to jawline with SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair and swerve dark circles with SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex. In the morning, SkinCeuticals Serum 10 uses vitamin C like a glass of orange juice for your skin: the anti-oxidant l-ascorbic acid helps to brighten while enhancing the skin’s defences against free radicals.
For sleep-deprived skin emergencies, keep Medik8’s 2-step H.E.O Mask on hand to deeply hydrate and restore a well-rested glow by morning, and Swissline Cell Shock Cellular Eye Mask Complex to erase the tell-tale signs of tired eyes. With a collagen-boosting gel-serum, 40 sheet eye masks and a cooling metal roller, it’s the ultimate SOS kit to soothe, calm and depuff.