Ladies who follow me on twitter might recall the day last week when I mentioned that I’d pulled a 30 hour day with no sleep. It was actually a 33 hour day, or thereabouts. I was up at 6.45am Thursday and did not get any sleep till 3pm Friday. It was work related, unintentional and unplanned and it was the culmination of a week of high stress and little sleep and rest.
I’m not about to ask for sympathy here – its work after all and a work stunt I’ve pulled before in my not so distant youth but its just reaffirmed to me just how much our bodies need rest and proper sleep to properly function and for our skin to look good. Some of us may be lucky in that you don’t have to undergo these sorts of stresses on your body, but I do have some tips you can try to alleviate the stress. I will also tell you what happened to my skin during the last week as a result of the stress and lack of sleep and rest.
Stress and Lack of sleep and rest can cause breakouts
This is something many of us know, but how many of us realize when its happening? I had a very stressful period from Tuesday-Friday. Starting from Tuesday itself, I noticed bumps appearing on my cheek, forehead and chin. Some were particularly painful. These bumps soon turned angry and red and showed no signs of receeding despite anything I did to them. In fact, my itchy fingers popped one and it got inflamed and wouldn’t go down!
When I managed to get some rest from Friday onwards, these bumps and spots disappeared quite quickly. The inflamed spot I popped just disappeared like nothing happened! This definitely confirmed the theory that stress and lack of rest can contribute significantly to breakouts. If you are having sudden inexplicable breakouts, take a look at your lifestyle and work. Are you undergoing a stressful period in your life or at work? Are you getting enough sleep?
Eye bags and dark eye circles are more pronounced with lack of rest
I have to thank the Gods for concealer during the last week! I had some serious concealing to do for the dark eye circles and eye bags that appeared. Lack of sleep and rest causes dark eye circles and bags to form and I’m not naturally prone to having them as a serious concern.
After a long rest and sleep, I woke up to relatively brighter eyes and the dark eye circles and eye bags were all but gone. If you notice a sudden appearance of eye bags or dark eye circles and you haven’t been having sufficient sleep and rest, this might be why.
Stress and lack of rest can cause pigmentation to look more prominent
If you don’t have a pigmentation problem, you may not notice this. But if you do, as I do, this is a problem indeed! With increased stress levels and lack of sleep and rest, my pigmentation problem flared up. Freckles on my cheekbones were looking much more prominent and darker, and here’s the clincher. It does not go away with sleep!
I’ve resorted to going back to my whitening products to deal with this problem. Granted, I don’t expect them to go away (it can’t with just products alone) but at least I can get them calmed down to a level that I find reasonable.
Again, if you suddenly notice your pigmentation problem getting worse, and the sun isn’t a problem for you, stress and lack of rest may be it.
Poor health and lowered immune system
When you try to pull a stunt like I did, all your body’s resources goes towards keeping you awake and alert for the time you need to be. It could be adrenaline keeping you going but everything else in your body too has to work overtime to keep you upright and mobile and thinking clearly. In this time, your immune system drops and bacteria that have laid dormant take this opportunity to wreak havoc on your body.
In my case, I woke up on Saturday morning with a fever and a sore throat. Neither showed any signs of abating although rest, staying hydrated and lots of honey over the long weekend is helping. I’m still fighting it.
When you’re younger (as I was ) you don’t feel it as much. I didn’t fall sick immediately after pulling a 30 hour day. A good long sleep and I was fine. With age creeping up on you, and body defenses lowered, your body takes a much longer time to heal from these sorts of abuses.
Poor skin and health were the immediate things I noticed after this particularly stressful period I went through. And if I were to have to do it again (I hope never!) there are a few things I’d have done and taken note of:-
- Keeping hydrated with water. When stressed it is easy to forget to drink enough water and liquids. You will find you need to go to the toilet more, but our bodies need the water to keep going. So staying hydrated with water or isotonic drinks may help. Keeping hydrated will also prevent our skins from drying out. This applies during and after this stressful period.
- Herbal drinks may help. If you subscribe to the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, “heat” and “cool” as I do, then drinking a cooling herbal drink may help cool down your body so you don’t fall sick. When your body undergoes high stress with little rest, it gets “heaty” so a “cooling” drink dampens the fires. Something simple like a barley water drink or young coconut helps. Probably applicable only in Asia though
- Vitamin C and Vitamins to boost immunity. If you know you will be going through a stressful period, up your doseage of Vitamin C and vitamins. Your body’s immunity will be lowered and you need all the help you can get to ensure that the nasty bacteria doesn’t have a field day. As skin breakouts can also be attributed to bacteria, this might also help keep spots away.
- Keep skin hydrated and spot treatment handy. If you can work at home, slap on a hydrating face mask while you work. It will help keep your skin hydrated and cooled down which can prevent spots from appearing or getting inflamed. Having spot treatment handy is also useful because if you can’t fight it, you could at least treat it I’m now back to my hydration and spot treatment regime.
- Try to take a break after that. I realise it may not always be possible but after a very stressful period, it would be good to take a few days off. You don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. You just have to stay home and rest and allow your body time to recover. Also, try to take things easy fir a while as i will be. Its easy to draw on reserves you never knew you had but replenishing those reserves take more time than you can imagine. I was lucky I had a long weekend thereafter to catch up on rest and sleep but if I did not, I would have taken time off because ultimately, health is much more important than wealth!
Have you ever pulled all nighters for whatever reasons? Did you experience the same sort of skin and health stresses I did when faced with lack of sleep and rest e.g when working late nights? Do you have tips on how to counter it? Do share!