Loud neighbors keep you up late last night? Stressing through a work thing until 3 am? Tossed and turned all night about who’s going to win RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars? (Same. Trixie, right?)
A good night’s sleep is written all over your face and body, making quality sleep an essential part of your daily routine. So, with one bad night of sleep, you can feel completely destroyed all day long. We talked to a bounty of experts to get their advice on what to do, eat, drink, think, and put on your face to not only look better, but more importantly, feel better. This is your go-to guide to faking your way into feeling better after a hard night’s sleep.
Be Gone, Dark Circles and Puffy Eyes!
“Not getting enough sleep can lead to dark circles,” says celebrity esthetician and skincare expert Renée Rouleau. “When you don’t get enough rest, your body’s circulatory system is compromised. Blood then stagnates in the vessels under the eyes because they haven’t properly drained. When you are tired, it definitely shows.”
Banish dark circles quickly with these tips:
1. First things first: Take a shower, then ice.
“If you wake up in the morning with puffiness, taking a fairly warm to hot shower will be beneficial for two reasons,” says Rouleau. “First, the heat from the water dilates (relaxes and opens) lymphatic vessels to help assist with fluid drainage (wastes and toxins). When you wash your face in the shower and water hits you directly with force, this encourages excess fluids to move out of the eye area. Secondly, in addition to the heat helping with circulation, your vertical position (standing in the shower) helps drainage move out of the face.”
You can even take this idea and turn it on its head—specifically with temperature. “Take an ice bath, or simply end your shower with freezing temps, staying as long as you can stand it,” says Jillian Turecki, New York-based yoga teacher and certified life coach. “This reduces inflammation and perks up our brains.”
When you get out of the shower, apply something cold to your face to quickly constrict the blood vessels to reduce fluid retention. As long as it’s cold, it’ll work, so grab anything out of the freezer (ice, a bag of frozen peas, etc.) and hold on the face for at least five minutes.
The classic go-to spa option has always been cooled cucumbers, which work well, too. “Cucumbers don’t contain any miraculous puffiness-reducing properties,” says Rouleau. “They do, however, have a gel-like consistency (from their seeds) that make them good for retaining cold temperatures.”
A similar concept is a revitalizing eye mask, which can work wonders STAT. Kick it up a notch by storing it in the fridge. Patchology Rejuvenating Eye Gels, $5 for 15, reduces puffy, tired eyes very quickly.
2. Massage the eye area.
Stimulate stagnant blood flow, which contributes to under-eye darkness, by gently massaging around the eyes using circular motions with the tip of your ring finger.
3. Apply a skin brightening eye cream.
“Not all eye creams are equal, so using one exclusively formulated for reducing the appearance of dark circles will give the best results,” says Rouleau. Renee’s Vitamin C Eye Brightener, $59.50, was created for this exact purpose, with stable Vitamin C for vessel-strengthening and anti-inflammatory properties to stimulate the detoxification process. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $38, is a Domino favorite too, for its ability to reduce the look of dark circles and make concealer go on easier. “Be sure to follow it with a good concealer to help reduce the look of darkness.”
Smoke and Mirrors…
Now that your face is de-puffed, focus on brightening up the skin, which can become dull-looking with lack of sleep.
1. Get glowing.
Fake that glowing-from-within look by applying hydrating, light-reflecting drops on your skin before makeup. Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops, $145, are made for both immediately glowing skin (with light-reflecting minerals) and long-term, naturally healthy skin (thanks to glow-getter purslane).
2. Filter it out.
Fudge flawless skin with an epic makeup primer. One like Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, $44, was literally created to make you glow. It not only diminishes the appearance of pores, but also hydrates and brightens skin. It’s even multi-purpose: Massage it on either alone or before foundation for a subtle glow, or mix it with foundation for a lit-from-within look. You can also use it as a highlighter around cheekbones and in the corner of your eyes.
3. You’re blushing.
A rosy flush from well-placed blush can cover up a lot of sins, including a tireless night of sleep. Glossier Cloud Paint, $18, couldn’t be more foolproof and easy to apply, nor more natural looking. Dab on your cheeks (and lips, and even as eyeshadow), and go forth and conquer.
Think Ahead, Think Smart.
1. Plan ahead.
“If we’re being honest, there’s no way to fake a full night’s sleep… but you can set yourself up to make better food choices in the throes of exhaustion,” says Shira Lenchewski, MS, RD, nutritionist, and brand new author of The Food Therapist. “During times like these, my biggest piece of advice is to make as many food decisions ahead of time (checking out menus online, bringing healthy options to have on hand), before you start to crash. Because once you hit that wall, it’s really hard to make thoughtful food choices.”
2. Don’t skip the caffeine, but monitor it.
“Caffeine in the early part of the day is very effective in triggering cortisol in healthy doses,” says Turecki. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, and stop drinking it after noon. “So have your coffee, but be very mindful of quantity and time of day.”
3. Eat this for breakfast.
“Not getting enough sleep can make us more inclined to lunge for a sugary breakfast, but our best bet for mornings after sleepless nights is a complex carb,” says Lenchewski. She loves this simple oatmeal: 2/3 cup unsweetened oatmeal, paired with healthy fat and protein, like coconut butter and hemp seeds. “It will help keep you going and your blood sugar steady.”
4. Avoid salty takeout.
Although it may sound perfect after a long day of tiredness, avoid eating high sodium foods for dinner, says Rouleau. “Eating salt and high sodium foods will encourage the retention of fluids around the eyes, which can result in morning-after under-eye puffiness. I know that personally, eating Chinese food for dinner will absolutely guarantee that I’ll be super puffy in the morning in both the eyes and face.”
5. Hydrate, of course.
Regardless of what you eat, drink a lot of water throughout the day. Bonus points (beyond just feeling better when you’re hydrated): “It will dramatically control fluid retention around the eyes,” says Rouleau.
Don’t push yourself too hard after a hard night of sleep; you’re going to want to take it easier than usual. “It’s amazing to me how people think they can do whatever they do while rested when not rested,” says Turecki. “Your body needs to restore, even with just one night of sleep off. Practice grounding—that means maybe a long walk, some meditation, or resting. This will reset your cortisol so that it reduces as the day ends, which is what we want.”
If you do want to get your body moving (mine is always sore after a hard night of sleep, and simple movements always ease it), take it easy with a few of these simplified tips.
Love Yoga founders Sian Gordon and Kyle Miller suggest simple, straightforward techniques to wake up your energy reserves and get your body moving. They swear by these three moves to get out of the sleep shame spiral:
“Find a comfortable seat, preferable sitting up in a yoga block, bolster, or pillow. Reach your arms up, making a ‘V,’ and make your hands into cups. Take a large, full inhale, and a complete exhale. Then, take a regular inhale and begin to pump the breath out in sharp, short exhalations through the nose. Start with 20 pumps and work up to 100, counting in the mind.”
2. Stir it up.
“Awaken dormant energy, unlock your low back, and lubricate the hips and pelvis with this imaginative technique. Kneel and start to make circles with your pelvis. Move slowly and organically, while using your imagination to envision your hips as a big wooden spoon dropped down into the bowl of the pelvis. Stir in both directions: Start with 30 seconds, and build toward a minute in each direction.”
“Come to the hands and the knees with the wrists stacked right below the shoulders. As you inhale, arch the back, look up, and lift the sit bones. As you exhale, round the spine, relaxing the tail and chin. The key to maximizing the naturally energizing benefits is to speed it up. Challenge yourself to move as quickly as possible—start with a round of 20, and build towards 100 pumps.
4. Plank it out.
New York Pilates founder Heather Andersen swears by this quick (slightly advanced) technique to feel more rejuvenated.
“Forearm plank with a knee crunch helps energize you in the simplest way. Start in forearm elbow plank, with hands flat on the ground and arms bent at 90 degree angles. Then, bend the knee towards the chest while keeping a flat back. (It’s super important to keep the pelvis as still as possible while moving.) Hold the knee for a quick second, and then bring the toes back to plank. Do three sets of 20, or until you feel fatigued.”
Pro tip: Keep your neck comfortable by looking slightly forward.
While it might be nearly impossible to not dredge through the day thinking about how tired you are, try not to internally let the lack of sleep get to you.
“Stop telling yourself how tired you are,” says Turecki. “Our words have a hypnotic impact on our brains. Whenever you repeat, ‘I’m so tired,’ you’re literally putting yourself into a trance into believing you’re SO tired, when maybe you are okay. Watch the self-talk, and just tell yourself that your body is resilient.”
And if possible, do less. “As much as your schedule allows, just do less and ground,” says Turecki.
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