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Sleeping Beauty: Q&A with Dr Murad

In our always-on world, getting enough sleep is one of the biggest challenges we face. We asked Doctor Murad if you can really tell if someone has had enough sleep and what damage is it doing to your skin.

HOW CAN YOU SPOT SLEEP DEPRIVED SKIN AND WHAT ARE THE COMMON SIGNS?

Sleep deprived skin is easy to spot and it is something which I have seen increase significantly over the last decade in my patient’s skin. The most noticeable signs are bags under the eyes (dark circles) but, you will also see dryness, acne breakouts, fine lines and thinner skin.

I have a few tips that make a real difference to combating sleep-deprived skin:

Use a humidifier. As you age, your skin is constantly dehydrating. By sleeping with a humidifier, you will wake up refreshed and your skin will appear refreshed and glowing.  It will also open your airways and give you a more peaceful night.

Do something that relaxes you. I do not like to prescribe specific rules to my patients but rather to guide them in finding what works best for them – after all, we are all individual.  You can try a hot bath, relaxing music, a cup of warm tea or meditation. The whole point is to take 30 minutes before you go to bed and create a relaxing routine. I do heavily advise that you turn off anything digital.  I say – unique options for the unique you.

Fortify your body with nutrition. Sleep repairs your cells. You can help this process by consuming healthy foods that are rich in antioxidants, omegas, and amino acids. I like to eat walnuts and/or supplements that contain omegas and antioxidants.

Do not eat a heavy meal within two hours of going to sleep. Your body, including your digestive system, needs to relax before you go to bed. Try and keep this in mind and where possible, eat your dinner earlier on in the evening.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS TO YOUR SKIN WHEN YOU ARE SLEEPING?

Damage done to your skin during the day is repaired at night. Your body is an amazing factory and when you go to sleep; the factory cleans up, repairs itself and files everything away. It is critical that you allow your body to process each day and the only way to do this is by getting enough sleep. The recommended amount of daily sleep is between 7-9 hours.  I personally believe that everyone needs to find their optimal sleep requirement.  One easy way to see how much you need is to look at when you wake up without an alarm clock.  Your body will never oversleep!   Since every cell in your body is connected, your skin responds to the amount of sleep you are receiving and reflects how much you are receiving on the surface.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT CULTURAL STRESS, YOU OFTEN SAY THAT POOR SLEEP IS A CONSEQUENCE OF OUR ‘ALWAYS-ON’ LIFESTYLES. WHAT IS YOUR KEY ADVICE FOR HELPING YOUR PATIENT’S SKIN WHEN THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP?

I encourage my patients to work on multifaceted approach: Emotional, physical, topical and nutritional.

Emotional:  Smile in the mirror whenever you are taking off your make-up, washing your face or brushing your teeth.  A happy face and a happy mind are key to getting a good night’s sleep and combatting stress.

Physical: We all sit for too long a day – before you go to bed (and throughout the day), take a good stretch.  My favorite at the moment is simply sitting in a chair, lean over stretch your hand out to the floor (or as far as they go) and keep walking them forward, Repeat 5 times.

Topical:  I love to give my skin hydrating boost.  My favorite nighttime routine after a long day is:

Hydro- Dynamic Ulitmate Moisture: A super-rich, anti-aging moisturizer formulated to relieve dry, dehydrated skin and restore youthful resilience and tone; yet it is gentle enough for sensitive skin. The formula for this face cream locks in optimal moisture for 24 hours with Olive Fruit Oil, while Collagen Support Complex restores a youthful appearance. 

Renewing Eye Cream: This multi-active, anti-aging treatment for the eye area firms, brightens and hydrates to minimize the appearance of aging and dark circles. Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 reduces medium-to-deep crow’s feet, and the Eye Brightening Complex diminishes puffiness for a brighter, illuminated eye area.

Murad Renewing Eye Cream is suggested for people looking to:

  • Minimize dark circles
  • Reduce puffiness
  • Reduce crow’s feet

Nutritional: Start and end your day with really hydrating foods. I believe that the cucumber is underrated and I am eating as much as I can at the moment. I also cut slices of cucumbers and place them over my eyes when I relax to help sooth my eyes.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TECHNIQUES TO HELP YOU DRIFT OFF TO SLEEP? 

I have been reading Arianna Huffington’s book on sleep and I really like her approach to creating a nighttime routine.  For example making sure that you do not sleep in old clothes (we all have an old comfy t-shirt) but rather see your sleep as a ritual and luxury by going to bed in specially dedicated clothes that train your mind to believe you are going to sleep.