Mirror Magazine


Cell renewal creams
Certain products claim to increase the rate of cell turnover or aid cell renewal. As the skin ages, the rate of cell turnover slows down and this makes the skin look older.

Cell renewal or cell turnover refers to the time required for newly formed cells to move from the base of the epidermis, where they are formed, to the surface, where they are sloughed off. It takes about a month for a cell to turnover in young skin (about 15 days to travel from the base of the epidermis to the stratum corneum, the dead outer layer of the skin, and about 15 days to move from the base of the stratum corneum to the surface). It may take almost twice as long for this turnover to occur in elderly skin. It's claimed that the longer the process takes, the more apt the skin is to develop a dull, drab appearance. There are also claims that this slower cell transit can adversely affect the barrier function of the stratum corneum so the skin loses moisture more rapidly and is thus more likely to become overly dry.

Advertising and packaging claims for cell renewal products refer to tests that prove that a particular product increases the rate of cell turnover. The fact is, however, that application of many moisturisers will increase the rate of cell turnover. More important to the consumer is the question of whether the increase in the rate of cell turnover will produce any visible difference in the skin, by, for example, smoothing out wrinkles. This is very doubtful. Most agents that increase cell turnover improve the appearance of dry skin simply through their moisturising qualities.

Clues to a sleep-smart
Do you sleep like a baby every night or lie there wide awake watching the clock for hour after hour? Melanie Bowden finds out the best ways to get a good night's sleep.

One morning, after weeks of insomnia problems, I woke to a foul odour in my kitchen. I sniffed around until I found a curdling carton of milk inside a cupboard. The day before I had placed the milk on the cupboard shelf instead of in the refrigerator. My sleep-deprived brain never registered the mistake.

I can laugh about that day now but, at the time, it scared me. I wondered if I could make a much more dangerous error - maybe while driving - and that wouldn't be funny.

One out of three adults suffers from insomnia. In school we learn about how to eat properly and exercise, but no one teaches us how to get the best night's sleep. No wonder so many adults are stumbling through the day tired and then falling into bed worried that they won't get the sleep they need.

Whether you suffer from insomnia or just need more hours of sleep, there are ways to improve your sleep habits.

Sleep debt
It's important to understand the concept of 'sleep debt' as defined by Dr. William C. Dement, the author of, 'The Promise of Sleep'.

If you don't get enough sleep one night, that puts you into sleep debt and the debt accumulates. Dement, who is considered the world's leading authority on sleep, says that "accumulated lost sleep is like a monetary debt: It must be paid back."

For example, let's say a good night's sleep for you means eight hours. If one night you only get six, and then sleep eight the next night thinking you're back on track, you're not. You still have two hours of sleep debt.

Over time, the debt adds up and can affect your physical and emotional state, as well as your mental competency. Sleep debt is the reason for countless accidents including the Exxon Valdez and Challenger disasters. It's also why parents of newborns can feel like they're losing their minds.

Lower your debt
If you experience daytime sleepiness - yawning, craving a cup of coffee, rubbing your eyes - you have sleep debt. How can you lower it? First make sure you're living what Dement calls a sleep-smart lifestyle. Don't drink caffeine or alcohol in the evening, have your evening meal at least three hours before bedtime, and stick to a set bedtime along with a ritual like a hot bath or reading.

Your bedroom environment is also very important. It should be kept cool and quiet. Your mattress, pillow, and bedclothes should be very comfortable. Your bed should only be for sleeping and sex, so no reading or TV watching in bed. Exposing yourself to sunlight during the day and exercising regularly will also help you sleep better.

Going to bed as little as a half an hour earlier can make a difference in how you feel. Dement says, "The task is to work down your sleep debt until you are alert and energetic all day... You'll work more efficiently when you are well rested, and working more efficiently will, in turn, give you more time for other activities".

What you can do
So you're determined to get more sleep, but you end up lying in bed thinking about tomorrow's to-do list. What can you do?

Old standbys like counting sheep or counting backwards from 100 are good to try. Here's a great mental game that my mother-in-law taught me: Go through the alphabet searching for one-syllable boys names for each letter. For example: Ames, Blake, Cal. If you make it to Z, then start over with one-syllable girls names, then two-syllable boys names, and so on, but you'll probably be asleep way before then.

Another way to clear your mind is to write out your to-do list for the next day before you go to bed. You can also designate a set amount of time for worrying, say 15 minutes every evening or write your concerns in a worry journal. The goal is to get the worries out of your mind so you will be able to ease into peaceful slumber.

Stress reduction techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, and massage can also improve your sleep according to Barbara Heller, a psychotherapist and the author of 'How to Sleep Soundly Tonight'.

To discharge stress and prepare for bed, she advises you to "take a deep breath in through your nose, and then let it out audibly through puckered lips, as though you were blowing out a candle. Repeat".

An informal survey of my insomniac friends yielded the following stress suggestions: drink a cup of plain chamomile tea before bed, transport yourself mentally to a relaxing locale to drift off, and don't live near neighbours with barking dogs! If you do wake in the night, don't check the time. That will only make you worry about how many hours you have left until you need to get up.

Sleep thinking
If you find it difficult to set your worries aside at night, try thinking - putting your brain to work on issues and problems that you face during the day. This technique is outlined in Dr. Eric Maisel's book, 'Sleep Thinking'.

Here's how it works. Think of an issue you want to find a solution to and then pose it as a question to yourself as you fall sleep. One of Maisel's tips is: "Fall asleep with a wonder, not a worry". For example, instead of thinking, "What am I going to do about my hideous job?," rephrase it as, "I wonder what I could do to improve my work life?" Phrasing the question as a wonder makes you more receptive to possibilities. In the morning, write down anything relevant you remember from your sleep or dreams. Even if you don't actually solve any problems this way, "Sleep thinking promotes a good night's sleep because you go to bed relaxed and curious, not stressed out and worrying," according to Maisel. "Also, you go into a deeper sleep which allows you to feel more rested."

Maisel's clients find that sleep-thinking lowers stress and reduces insomnia. Most insomniacs lie in bed worrying. With sleep thinking, you learn how to refocus that worrying into positive problem solving.

Try a doctor
If you try various nonprescription suggestions and still aren't sleeping well, be sure to check with your doctor. Insomnia can be a symptom of other health problems such as asthma or depression. Heller says, "Chronic medical problems often don't respond to self-help remedies". She advises that if your sleep problem is persistent or periodically recurs, then you should seek medical treatment.

And remember, not every tip will work for you - or even be right for you. In the interest of keeping my milk fresh, there are a lot of things I'll try in order to get a good night's sleep. But give up reading in bed? Never.
- Asia Features

Dear Coz
Make a choice
Dear H. H Forever, (Letter withheld on request)
Your parents don't like your boyfriend because he's a Burgher. What makes you think they'll like your cousin? He's younger than you and a family member. They wouldn't approve of either of your choices. The decision rests with you. What is it that you want? Do you want to build a life with your boyfriend? He's working and more established than your cousin who's still a teen. Out of the two, who can you do without? I don't know either of these guys. Only you know them and only you can decide on who is best for you. Think about it. Our life depends on the choices we make.

In love with a star
Dear Coz,
I'm a 22-year-old girl. I have fallen in love with a boy who's in a TV advertisement. I know he's a TV star but it is not the reason to love him. I met him at my cousin bro's wedding. I smiled with him and I looked at him every minute. I think I really love him. I can't get him out of my mind. What shall I do? Can I get him? Please help me.

Dear Nisa,
If it's only a handsome guy you need, I'll say go for it. But I'm sure you want more than just a handsome face. Qualities are more important.

Beauty's only skin deep they say. Besides, when beauty fades, if there's nothing of substance to replace it, you're in for trouble.

You know next to nothing about this guy. If you can find some details about him, do so. Be realistic. If I were you, I'll put the TV star out of my mind, go out, meet people and enjoy life until Mr. Right comes along.

Be friends
Dear Puzzled Lucky, (Letter withheld on request)
Is it possible that you like him maybe even more than you want to admit to yourself? Maybe he's not your type but he seems like a nice guy. If you don't want him, that's fine, but what's wrong with friendship? There's no sense in making him an enemy when you can be friends. Explain things to him. I'm sure he'll understand. Who knows, once you get to know him, you may even change your mind.

Hello out there
To my sweet dream girl Menaka,
You are the only one who touched my heart. I look forward to seeing you. I wish you a very happy birthday on November 6.
Your ever loving Viranga

Hi sweet Jel,
I wish you a happy, fantastic and romantic 19th birthday. May all your dreams come true. I love you. Take care.
Pancha (yahoo)

My affectionate mum,
I miss you very much. But my prayers bring you very close to me. I love you so much.
Your youngest daughter, Nadee (Beruwela)

Dear Chaturanga (2003 A/L)
I called you last week but your mom answered and snapped at me. Tune in to Yes FM Super Fax this Wednesday.
Thinking of you,

Dear Romesh (2002 A/L),
Darling, I miss you like crazy. Just want to say that you are on a wild goose chase. Be on the look out.
From Tin Tin

To my darling Mal,
I love you so much. You are on my mind all the time. I am sure that we have a wonderful future together. Wish you the best for your birthday.
Your ever loving Ravi

To our dearest friend Mizra,
We've been so thankful to God for your friendship. Happy birthday and God bless you.
From your pals, Nuskiya and Farha

To my sweet heart Isha….., (kandy)
Hey mysterious guy, you are the most wonderful boy I have ever met. You are very special to me as you have touched my heart. I love you and think of you all the time. Wish you a bright, romantic, healthy and successful future. May all your sweet dreams come true.
Your ever loving Suja…

Dear son Babu JSD,
We wish you a bright and prosperous happy birthday. Son, study well instead of playing rugger in campus.
All our love,
Mum, Dad, Arun and Menaka

To my dearest Chamini, Nadiya, Nilangani, Shashi, Sonali and all my friends,
You have helped me in more ways than you will ever know. Thank you. You will always have a special place in my heart as such wonderful friends.
From Aloma (Nilangi)

Dear Darshana (Dehiwela),
On your birthday, you should know how many people care for you and admire you. We join in the celebration of wishing you a very happy birthday.
From Pameela, Bhatiya, Randika, Sanjaya, Udaya, Raja and Sandika Malliya

To our dearest friend Azmiya,
We wish you a very happy birthday. May all your dreams come true. We wish you a bright and prosperous future. We are lucky to have a friend like you.
From your loving friends - Zaifa, Mifra, Fasliya, Samra, Rukshana, Dilhani, Simaya, Skenoma, Iyana, Vidhu, Raihana, Azma and Shabiha

To my darling husband Faisal,
On your 22nd birthday (October 26) may all your dreams become a reality. It's amazing to know that both were born on this special day. I love you.
From your darling wife, Fazmina

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