Does anyone else feel like no matter how hard they plan for an early night… it just never seems to happen? Every time my head hits the pillow and I doze off, I feel my alarm clock going off seemingly seconds later.
Don’t get me wrong: a straight eight hours would be the dream. But for those of us for whom it probably is just a dream, articles that bang on about the necessity of it for warding off bags, sags and dementia are profoundly unhelpful.
I don’t want to hear about how my lack of sleep is probably why those few extra pounds aren’t shifting – or why my perfectly-timed breakout is a result of me not getting enough shuteye. What I do need to know is how to remedy this situation and a fool-proof plan of how to come across as looking like I have gotten my seven to nine hours in bed.
Not stressing about the fact that you can’t sleep might actually ameliorate matters. The ultra-glamorous socialite and fashion entrepreneur Lauren Santo Domingo told me that, no matter how early she wakes up, she gets up and gets on with things and, if necessary, snatches a nap later.
Here are my nine wake-up wonders…
How to look less tired
1. Facial massage
Personally, I don’t always have the energy to leap up and write an article or do the vacuuming, but I can muster the enthusiasm for facial massage. Draining fluid from your face will de-puff it: instant improvement.
2. Get your glow on
We’ve all clocked the glow of cold-water swimmers. If full immersion in the sea or the local pond doesn’t do it for you, try a cold blast at the end of your shower. Work your way up to 30 seconds and then a minute. It will wake up your body and the way you look. Even better, add some mint essential oil to your shower gel or body cream.
There’s increasing evidence that intermittent fasting can have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body. When we fast, glucose and insulin levels decline and the liver produces ketones, chemicals that inhibit inflammation and the breakdown of collagen and elastin. The key to success is to find the part of the day when you’re least likely to feel hungry.
4. Be ingredient-savvy
Lay off harsh ingredients that promise short-term gain – I’m looking at retinol and harsh acids. Hollywood celebrity facialist Kate Somerville recommends peptides over retinol. ‘Peptides are a key factor for change,’ she says. ‘They’ll help firm up skin and they don’t have any of the irritating side effects that retinol can have.’ Her new peptide cream is crammed with a ton of waker-uppers.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
‘You know how leather cracks if you don’t polish it?’ says Somerville. ‘Same with your skin. If you want to smooth over crow’s feet, use a serum, oil and moisturiser at night.’ M&S’s Absolute Oil has a strong scent but gets rave reviews.
6. Hydrating pillowcases
Yes, they sound very Princess and the Pea, but they’re gentler on your skin and can cut down those creases that last well into mid-morning. Meg Mathews swears by the cheaper ones – and she knows her stuff.
7. Start from the inside
Make sure you’re getting plenty of healthy fats in your diet – omega 3 and vitamins A, C, D and K to encourage your skin to make its own collagen.
8. DIY brow lift
Give yourself a mini eyebrow lift by softly pencilling above your eyebrows. Grace Fodor, founder of Studio10, gave me this counter-intuitive tip and it’s genius: gently colour on to the pale or colourless hairs above your brow to add some height to that arch. If you want, you can gel them in place. It’s a simple but ultra-effective way to open up the eyes.
9. The quick fix
Don’t forget some bright lip colour – it adds three hours of sleep to your look.