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10 Natural ways to wake up fresher

Wake up, look good, feel great and generally be amazing. That’s the goal right? Whether you focus on preventative (pre-bedtime) strategies or more reactive (first thing in the morning) methods, or even both (double thumbs up), try just a few of these natural tactics and see if you notice a difference. Let’s start with tips for a good night’s sleep. Without a doubt, a decent sleep is one of the best ways to stave off tiredness and puffiness in the morning.

Prepare (properly) for bed:

1. One of the best ways to ruin a goodnight’s sleep is with an upset tummy. Coffee, red wine and chocolate have been scientifically shown to disturb your sleep more than any other food and drink so much so that they may prevent you from going into a deep sleep and may wake you up constantly. It’s best to avoid these in the afternoon/evening. But there are a myriad of other foods that may be problematic. Say no to salty foods before bedtime to avoid fluid retention and bloating - no chips, or processed foods high in salt. Try having grapefruit with fresh ginger grated over the top - grapefruit can be hydrating and ginger has anti-inflammatory properties (for calming skin).

2. Try to avoid having dinner immediately before you go to bed. It’s always best to leave a few hours between bedtime and dinner and give the digestive process the chance to do it’s thing before laying down. If you must eat something, eat a few dried cherries, a banana or dates all of which are supposed to induce natural sleep.

3. Don’t spend time on your phone or at the computer. "We know from previous work that light from screens in the evening alters sleepiness and alertness, and suppresses melatonin levels," Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, an associate neuroscientist in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. The best recommendations are to avoid light emitting screens before bedtime.

4. Try to do something calming before bed and turn off lights by 10pm to wind down body and mind. Focus on some deep breathing, fall into a rhythm and try not to let your mind wander, when it does, bring it back to your breath. Driving or activities that require full concentration should be avoided right before bed as it takes some time to calm your mind.

5. Make a habit of washing your face before bed to avoid going to bed with toxins and dirt staying on there all night. "At night there's more blood flow to the skin's surface, and there's nothing else on your face to interfere with absorption," says dermatologist Laurie Polis

6. Go to the toilet before bed even if you don’t think you need to go. Your kidneys continue to work during the night so by the morning your bladder could be full again. Basically if your bladder fills up before morning, you’ll feel the urge to go to the bathroom, thus interrupting the flow of your overall sleep. While it’s important not to get too obsessed or pedantic about the total hours you are asleep, it is worth keeping in mind that any break (such as a toilet break during the night) is an interruption to the sleep zone and could mean that it takes some time to get back to that ideal resting state.

7. This one feels counterintuitive to the point above….but be ensure you are hydrated when you go to bed. The trick however is to drink plenty of water throughout the day so you can taper off towards the evening. Sip on some fennel tea before bed, but avoid guzzling loads of the stuff. That way there is less chance you will be waking yourself up for a toilet run throughout your beauty sleep! Flushing the system with water and fennel tea may help reduce any bloatedness and promote lymphatic drainage.

During the night zzzzz

8. Get the bedding right by following the goldilocks rule of thumb - not too hot, not too cold. A spike of temperature either up or down, is enough to have you tossing and turning and ending up with not enough sleep. In regards to bedding, it is a personal choice. Some suggest that a woolen quilt could be the key to helping you sleep better - wool helps keep you warm when you’re cold but because it is natural and breathable, it helps remove excess heat and moisture when your body starts to warm.

9. Sleep on a soft pillowcase - some even say silk will help reduce the wrinkles by reducing the friction from tossing and turning on a less smooth fabric!

Rise and shine...and we mean literally shine!

But what if we can’t quite get the sleep we know we should, and are still waking up with our eyes a reflection of our spirit...when our spirit is a weary one. Well, thankfully, there are a few suggested ways to naturally improve those dark circles under the eyes. Let’s explore the most renowned of those age old natural remedies….

10. Do cucumbers really reduce puffiness around the eyes?

If puffiness is accompanied by irritation, home remedies like cucumbers and chamomile tea can help reduce the inflammation and swelling’ says dermatologist Dr Gregory Nikolaidis Cucumbers do have powerful antioxidants and flavinoids that are thought to reduce irritation. There is a reason they should be chilled also.The cool temperature of cucumbers or tea bags, eases puffiness and discourages the accumulation of fluid under your eyes. So, throw the cucumber slices in the freezer for a short time, then lay back, place a cucumber over each closed eye lid and rest for at least 5 minutes. It may not be a guaranteed cure for dark circles under the eyes, but it certainly won’t do you any harm.

Follow all of the above and you could be on your way to getting enough sleep, therefore helping to reduce those signs of tiredness such as red eyes and bags bigger than your handbag! Just by adding a few of these natural strategies you’ll hopefully steer clear of signs that may be visible due dehydration such as flushing and puffiness. Happy snoozing!

Useful links: 
http://www.thedailymind.com/how-to/17-ways-to-wake-up-feeling-fresh-in-the-morning/
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/28/living/ways-to-look-better-is/index.html
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ayurvedic-things-you-wake-feeling-fresher-than-ever.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/reading-before-bed_n_6372828


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