If you're one of the many of us who rarely achieve the recommended eight hours of beauty sleep, and would give virtually anything for an unbroken night's sleep, then the lure of skin products that promise softer, suppler and less-lined skin in the morning is understandable.
My Beauty Emporium has the low-down on the latest night-time skincare products, plus some favourite sleep-inducers, radiance boosters and morning make-over miracles.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, try tucking into a small carbohydrate and protein snack a few hours before you go to bed. Crackers and cheese, or some fruit with yogurt will help raise serotonin levels, which encourages sleep.
And make your last cup of tea or coffee no later than six hours before you plan to go to bed. Swap caffeinated drinks and alcohol for herbal teas with sleep-boosters like valerian, camomile and hops.
Improve your sleep
Whether it's a wakeful child or a heap of stress that's keeping you awake, when you do manage to drop off, make sure you sleep deeply to allow yourself to reach REM (when you dream), which is the most refreshing and rejuvenating sleep stage. Help matters along with This Works' Deep Sleep range, so effective it has sold out repeatedly since its launch. Stuffed full of soporific ingredients such as lavender, vetivert and wild camomile, Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, £15 (spritz on to your pillow and bed linen for a sedative effect) and Deep Sleep Night Oil, £25 (massage into arms, legs and decollete at bedtime), are both brilliant sleep inducers.
Invest in a night cream
Do night creams work? The answer is yes, although nothing is better for your skin than a good night's sleep. Using any moisturiser at night is better than nothing, but night creams are power-packed with ingredients that work best after dark and they don't contain things you don't need, such as sun protection.
Proof of this is the latest dermatological findings which are based on the science of chronopharmacology (there's a good word to bandy about). According to the experts, skin behaves differently at night and is more receptive to certain types of ingredients, including antioxidants and vitamin A, both of which have potent anti-ageing properties. Add to that the fact that some ingredients, including Vitamin A, work far better applied at night (and are deactivated by sunlight), and you have all the evidence you need to invest in night-time skin care.
Five of the best bedtime skin treats
- Best budget buy: Marilou Bio Organic Night Cream, £7.49. Rich in vegetable oils, this brilliant budget night cream works overnight to repair and hydrate skin.
- Best serum: Laidbare From Dusk Till Dawn Vitamin C Serum, £10. Part serum, part oil, this night-time treat contains Blackcurrant Sweet Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and Carrot Seed oil, all of which are rich in age-defying antioxidants.
- Best for fatigued skin: Caudalie Night Infusion Cream, £39. All the goodness of grapes (which is Caudalie's not-so-secret ingredient) plus ceramide, shea butter and resveratrol to plump-up deflated skin. Expensive, but worth it.
- Best all-round cream: Trilogy Replenish Night Cream, £31.50. With Omega 3, 6 and 9 and olive oils, this super-rich but lightweight cream works overnight to moisturise and repair skin.
- Best oil: Suti Organic Face Oil for Night, £32. This feels like luxury and smells divine. A blend of avocado, macadamia nut, jasmine and patchouli oils, it's the perfect overnight skin booster.
Wake up looking radiant
Using a daily or gradual self-tan before you go to bed means that even if you are sleep deprived, you'll look refreshed (and feel better because you look less drained). The latest formulations won't stain your bedlinen and have less of a tell-tale odour than their predecessors. Good news all round.
Laidbare Tantastic Natural Tan For Face and Body, £5.80, is a blend of natural plant extracts which work gradually to build up a light, natural tan that makes you look like you've had a short holiday break without any of the sun damage.
Few of us wake up with a spring in our step, especially if we're sleep-deprived. A speedy shower or bath with a zesty mood-enhancer will get you going. Caudalie Zeste de Vigne Shower Gel, £9, is a zingy combination of lemon, sweet and bitter orange and mandarin.
Boost circulation and shun sleepiness with Love & Toast Clementine Crush Sugar Body Scrub, £12, with vitamin C rich orange peel, white ginger and pomegranate to make you tingle from top to toe.
Reduce dark circles under your eyes
Restless nights usually result in dark circles, and while some of us are genetically more prone to under-eye darkness, they can be reduced. Increasing micro-circulation around the eyes can help minimise bags and circles. Try Marilou Bio Certified Organic Eye Contour Gel, £14.99, which contains seaweed aloe vera and camomile to de-puff and brighten. The roller-ball applicator also helps to massage the skin gently, leaving eyes feeling and looking refreshed.
Karena Callen is creative and beauty director of www.mybeautyemporium.com.