The Best Rest List

How to Wake Up Better-Looking!

woman sleeping
(Image credit: Diane Diederich)

You're an efficiency expert who swears by conference calls and books on tape, all while reaching your target heart rate on the treadmill. Luckily, there's multitasking you can do in your sleep: your beauty maintenance. Lack of restful sleep affects everything: mood, weight, immune system, and certainly the way you look, says Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., author of Beauty Sleep. "And, unfortunately, every woman's fluctuating hormones guarantee at least two to three nights of bad sleep a month." The good news? Quality counts as much as quantity.

Here, some snooze enhancers that guarantee you wake up refreshed — whether for the boardroom or breakfast with your boyfriend.

Clear Conscience

Before falling asleep, your body lowers its core temperature by sweating, according to Breus. "Perspiration hydrates, but an oil- and sweat-soaked pillow can cause breakouts," he says. For a flawless complexion, always remove makeup before bed, change pillowcases weekly (avoid nonabsorbent polyester), and refresh linen between washes with an antimicrobial spray like Borba's Atomizer Linen, Face and Body Reviving Mist. If you're acne-prone, avoid memory foam pillows. "When you sweat in memory foam, it has no place to go, and you basically sleep in it," warns Breus. To shrink pimples overnight, try an acne treatment with liquid-bandage technology — Clean & Clear Advantage Invisible Acne Patches form an invisible film on the skin that flattens spots and speeds healing.

Smooth Operation

"I frequently see women with deeper wrinkles on one side of their face — the side they sleep on, of course," says New York dermatologist Heidi A. Waldorf. To avoid "sleep lines," opt for slippery silk or satin pillowcases and pile on the antiaging products. At night, your body's circadian rhythm naturally lulls skin into repair mode, which peaks between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., explains Tom Mammone, executive director of R&D for Clinique: "Skin also heats up and gets thirsty in the middle of the night — it opens up, and larger molecules like peptides and vitamin C penetrate better." And like retinol, vitamin C is deactivated by the sun, so night use (accompanied by a moisturizer) is ideal.

Bright-Eyed, Bushy-Tailed

Dust mites and down pillows can cause red, puffy eyes, says Breus, who prefers antibacterial synthetic down. For baggage handling, place a fabric eye mask over eye cream with a calming ingredient like green tea (try SK-II Signs Eye Mask). Silky pillowcases help prevent frizzy hair and breakage, says trichologist Brian Thompson, from the Philip Kingsley hair clinic in New York City. A leave-in conditioner also offers protection, but avoid using it overnight; too much moisture for too long can weaken hair. Meanwhile, lack of sleep also makes hair greasy; like the underarms, the scalp is loaded with oil and sweat glands that get revved up when you're stressed. "That's why the sleep-deprived are much more likely to suffer from BO," adds Thompson. So turn in early as often as possible!

Click here for The Best Products for a Good Night's Sleep