For those who have trouble sleeping, the paranoia of looking noticeably tired increases. People suffering periods of bad sleep worry that they will develop dark circles around the eyes. Yet while a lack of sleep can cause darkness around the eyes, this isn’t the case for everyone and not the sole reason for dark circles. In fact, there are times when I’ve had a week of deep restful sleep, only for someone to remark that I look very tired. And there are other times when I have hardly slept at all and run into someone I know who remarks on how well I look. So if those dark half moons are caused by lack of sleep, then why do they not disappear after we sleep solidly for 8 hours? And how come some people sleep less than you or I and don’t suffer from dark circles under the eyes?
The truth is that lack of sleep will give the majority of people puffy eyes, which will reduce in appearance as the day continues. The eyes may also appear slightly bloodshot and dimmer in color. But if you suffer permanently from dark circles under your eyes no matter how much you sleep, this condition is likely to be caused by one of a number of factors outside of sleep.
Bags Vs. Dark Circles
The sensitive skin around our eyes becomes baggier as we age and some people experience fatty/fluid deposits under the eyes commonly known as ‘bags’. It is said that bags are hereditary and DNA determined, but research has shown that diet plays a big role in how predominant bags become and how young they are developed. Bags are entirely different to dark circles. Some people have bags that are the same colour as the skin, and others prone to dark circles naturally develop darker bags. The bottom line is that with age we all experience a sagging of the skin around the eyes and cosmetic surgery is the only permanent cure for this.
Dark circles on the other hand, in the majority of cases, are hereditary. Skin type, colour and the shape of a person’s face also contribute to how predominant dark circles appear. For example, if you have deep-set eyes or a larger than average nose, dark circles will be more noticeable. However, it should be noted that if you are predisposed to dark circles, consistently poor sleep will accentuate their appearance, and the less you sleep the harder it will become to reverse the condition.
Possible Causes of Dark Circles
There are a variety of possible different reasons for dark circles around the eyes, with hereditary disposition being the primary cause. In the list below I have documented possible causes in order of likelihood based on my own personal research.
1. Hereditary Predisposition
Some people have a hereditary predisposition to dark circles, and without realising it you may be predisposed to leaking weak capillaries around the eyes, which cause the appearance of dark circles.
Everybody suffers from stress at one time or another. You will know from experience that when you are stressed people tell you that you look tired. Lower your stress levels through relaxation methods and positive mind training to ease the appearance of dark circles.
3. Excess Sugar
“You Are What You Eat”, it is as simple as that. Research has shown that cutting down on processed sugar-laden foods makes eyes, hair and skin more healthy and radiant looking.
4. Excess Alcohol
Like excess sugar, too many nights drinking and you are likely to see an increase in dark circles. This is due to the nutrients being drained from your body by the toxicity of alcohol.
Dehydration affects the appearance of skin and its elasticity. With 75% of the population unknowingly dehydrated, it is no wonder the skin around our eyes looks so tired. Start drinking more water and the skin around your eyes will rehydrate and appear healthier.
6. Hay Fever and Dust Allergies
Hay Fever and dust allergies cause people to excessively rub their eyes. This breaks down blood vessels in the skin around the eyes and makes the appearance of the skin darker.
It isn’t just bad sleepers who suffer from dark circles around the eyes. In fact many bad sleepers don’t suffer this problem at all. Dark circles are down to a number of contributing factors, but largely hereditary disposition. Worrying about looking tired will only seek to make you look more tired and encourage dark circles to appear. I recommend reducing stress levels and spending less late nights on the laptop straining your eyes. Eat more protein and take a supplement that contains Keratin, which helps rejuvenate skin cells. You may also try simple treatments such as using fresh cucumber or tea bags on the eyes for 10 minutes at a time.
If you are predisposed to dark circles and are having trouble sleeping, I recommend a course of good sleep hygiene to optimize your sleep and set your body clock to sleep faster, deeper and longer during the correct hours.
This is a guest post by Peter Litchfield.
Peter Litchfield is an expert on sleep hygiene therapy and the natural cure of insomnia. He is also the author of the popular better sleep book Six Steps To Sleep Now
Do you find yourself groggy and irritable upon waking up in the morning? Then you are probably not getting enough rest. A majority of adults greatly underestimate the importance of getting a full eight hours sleep. With work pressures and the myriad distractions of internet and entertainment gadgets, settling down into bed for actual sleep is being pushed later and later.
And then, there are also some people who find themselves too wound-up to shut their brains off, ending up lying awake hour after hour. Unless your sleep problems are caused by a medical condition, you could improve the quality of your rest by including minor changes in your night time routine. Read below for some quick fixes for common sleep problems.
- Be more active during the day. Leading a sedentary life does not allow you to feel physically tired enough to go to sleep at night. Exercise seems to improve not only sleep, but also mood and energy levels. If you are too busy to go to the gym, a simple walk around the parking lot or using the stairs will do just fine. Pack some athletic shoes along and get moving after your day’s work.
- Get up earlier. Sleeping until noon messes up with your body’s circadian rhythm. If you observe that you tend to get sleepy only after midnight, then chances are, you are now getting up early enough. Even if you don’t have to be anywhere at nine o’clock, get into the habit of waking up at eight am at the latest. You will find your days becoming more productive too.
- Impose a caffeine moratorium after three pm. If you need to be asleep by ten or eleven am, then you should consume your last frappe no later than 3pm. That way, your body will have more than enough time to clear the caffeine from your system by night time.
- Make your bedroom conducive for rest and relaxation. A room that is too noisy, too messy, or too chaotic does not exactly invite slumber. Take out everything not necessary for sleeping, such as the TV. Install some mood lighting (like an inexpensive low-wattage lamp) and pipe in some soothing music. Aromatherapy can also work wonders: lavender and chamomile essential oils are said to promote better sleep.
- Invest in a good comfy bed and pillows. If your living room couch is a lot more comfortable and inviting than your bed, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself staying more in the couch. A bed is an essential piece of furniture, and you really should get the best that you can afford. Get a mattress that provides adequate support for your neck and back when lying in various positions. Also, you will really find it worthwhile to splurge on good, fluffy pillows and a set of luxurious bed linens with a high thread count. Make your bed as inviting as possible, and you will soon find yourself actually looking forward to catching forty winks.
Author Bio- Sunny is a Global Brand Manager at Mattressnextday.co.uk – The UK’s no1 supplier for memory foam mattress. Mattressnextday sells well known names such as: Sealy mattress, Silentnight mattress, Sleepeezee, Dream Works, Serene, Sprungland just to name a few. For more information see their website: http://www.mattressnextday.co.uk/sleep.php
How to Become a Morning Person
I am sure everyone has troubles getting up early once in a while, even those who are early birds. But do we ever think about what makes it hard for us to get up early? I didn’t. I used to be a terrible heavy sleeper, every morning was a torture for me and I was craving for weekend to come so I would be able to sleep in till noon. I thought early risers never had problems waking up early in the morning, so I always wanted to become one. But, to tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter if you are a night owl or an early bird, you can still have hard times waking up early in the morning. It’s all because there are some things that you should do and some that you shouldn’t to feel great getting up early!
So, here is the list of Dos to become a morning person:
- Commit yourself to waking up at the same time every morning, even on weekend, even on holiday. Persistence is the key to building any habit.
- Get out of bed as soon as your alarm clock goes off. Snooze button is your worst enemy. You are just a human, so you can be weak and tempted sometimes to push a snooze button. That’s why it is better to make sure your alarm clock hasn’t got one.
- Open the curtains to get exposed to the sun or, if you have to wake up earlier than the sun rises, turn on the lights. This lets your body know that the day has begun and it is time to wake up. Same rule applies when you go to sleep, so make sure it is dark in your bedroom at night.
- Take contrast shower to help your body wake up. This little trick not only will give you fresh feeling but also will speed up your blood circulation for an energy boost.
- Get moving, jog outside or simply walk your dog out, it’s all good when it comes to exercising in the morning.
Things you should avoid doing to be an early riser:
- Skipping breakfast. Healthy nutritious breakfast gives us energy for the whole day. Once you skip it, your productivity will hit its lows and you will feel tired and sleepy for the rest of the day.
- Drinking coffee after noon. Coffee does give you an energy boost, but you should drink it in the morning. Otherwise you will have troubles falling asleep. And, keep in mind that it refers to other caffeine products too.
- Watching TV or playing computer games before the bedtime. Probably, you have already heard that television and computer games have a great impact on your nervous system and bring you to arousal state; and it results in various sleep disorders and insomnia.
- Consuming alcohol in the evening. Undoubtedly alcohol makes you sleepy and more relaxed, but you shouldn’t use it as an extra help falling asleep. It turns out that alcohol messes up the sleep patterns and prevents you from having a quality sleep you need. It is more likely it will harm you giving the morning hangover rather than do good helping fall asleep.
- Having big meal for dinner. Eating heavy or spicy food at the dinner table is not a good idea. Your body should rest when you are sleeping too instead of digesting the food. Besides, it leads directly to weight gain and obesity. So, do yourself a favor and have a light dinner.
And, of course, the most important thing you need to wake up early is motivation! Find a reason to get up and you will see how easy it is to become a morning person. Good luck!
This is a guest post by Amber Smith.
Amber is a time management expert and runs the site HowToGetUpEarly.com. The site is about helping people to get up early and be more productive by sharing original tips and innovative products.
We’ve posted before about alternative sleeping patterns and strategies for dividing your sleep into multiple chunks. These may sound like modern concepts designed to cope with today’s busy schedules; however, there is evidence that dividing up one’s sleep into shorter blocks is the historical norm. As Stephanie Hegarty writes in this BBC News article, “these [historical]references describe a first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.” and “During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbours. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed”.
Trouble sleeping not only causes us to feel fatigued during the day but it can also take a toll on our health and weaken our immune system. It turns out that those who do not get enough sleep are more susceptible to colds and stay ill longer. Why? Because during sleep, our immune system produces cytokines, small protein molecules that combat viruses and bacteria.
Sleep disorders, frequent waking up at night and shallow sleep can all cause disorders in our immune system — making us more vulnerable to disease and virus attacks. Therefore getting an adequate amount of sleep is important for our well being; average adults need 7-8 hours of sleep while school-age children need up to 9-10 hours (although individual needs may vary).
Here are some tips to help you get to sleep and stay asleep during the night:
- Stick to a schedule. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Do not over indulge before bed. While it is important not to go to sleep hungry it is also crucial not to overeat. Have a light dinner at least 30 minutes before heading to bed.
- Relax. Before bedtime, take an aromatic bath, read a book or listen to music.
- Ventilate your bedroom – Experts agree that the most comfortable temperature for sleep is 65-70 degrees.
- Avoid sleeping during the day. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep then naps are not recommended as they may disturb your day/night sleep rhythms.