3 Cool Ways to Revive Tired, Puffy Eyes
Eyes look swollen from too much partying, too much computer time, too much sleep - or too little - a bad cold, or simply loose under - eye skin caused by heredity, aging, or both.
Whatever the cause of puffed-up peepers, here's how to deflate them fast. Just head for the kitchen and...Slice a cucumber.
Dermatologists aren't sure what's behind the anti-inflammatory effects of cucumbers but here's a possible explanation: The veggies contain a combo of mild natural acids that reduce water retention. Some beauty pros say cucumbers work best when they're cold, which makes sense: Since cukes are 90 percent water, chilled slices are like delicate mini-ice packs.
Reach for the peas. Any bag of frozen food will do, but frozen baby peas have a way of fitting into the nooks and crannies around your eyes. Put a soft cloth around the plastic package to protect your skin from the friged surface, then chill out for 5 to 15 minutes while the cold shrinks the swelling.
Make a milk bath Milk is a natural soother if eyes are irritated as well as puffy. "Just don?t use skim milk, since it doesn?t contain fat, one of milk?s most soothing components," says New York dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD. Other ingredients in milk that calm swollen skin: protein, amino acids, lactic acid, and vitamins A and D. Pour milk into a bowl of ice, so it gets really cold, saturate a clean washcloth and apply to eyes for up to 15 minutes. Soak and reapply when the cloth loses its cool.
P.S. if puffy eyes are a chronic problem, eye-shapped packs filled with gel that freezes are a worthwile investment...and they don't drip.
Top 10 Foods for a Good Night's Sleep
What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones - serotonin and melatonin - flowing. Yawning yet?
Bananas. They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect - it's the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.
Warm milk. It's not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan - an amino acid that has a sedative - like effect - and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there's the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax, everything's fine."
Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that's linked to alertness.
Potatoes. A small baked spud won't overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.
Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep - inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy - plus if you've got the munchies, it's filling too.
Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it's converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."
Turkey. It's the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that's actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach's basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you've got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.
What if none of these foods help you get your zzz's? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge test to find out what?s keeping you up at night. http://www.realage.com/health_guides/RLS/intro.aspx
For an extra treat, here's the ultimate sleep-inducing snack...Lullaby MuffinsMakes 12 low-fat muffinsBetween the bananas, the whole wheat, and the honeyed touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby. · 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour· 1/2 teaspoon salt· 1 tablespoon baking powder· 2 large, very ripe bananas· 1/3 cup applesauce· 1/4 cup honey· 1/2 cup milk or soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it's whole-wheat pastry flour or you'll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups, pour in batter, and bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy.
Nutrition FactsPer serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrates; 10g sugars; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium