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DAILY PLAN FOR HEALTHY SKIN: GENERAL CARE AND SLEEP

It is a well-known fact that the air-bath tends to soothe the nerves and to relax the whole system, so that most people go to sleep quickly after it. Many skin sufferers who go to bed without airing their skins are asking for trouble, and they generally wake up during the night with the irritation. In a great many cases this can be avoided by the proper use of the air-bath, and this is a much better way than using all kinds of lotions and pain-killing agents. As we have already seen, there is a very close relationship between the nerves and the skin, and anything that will soothe the nervous system will allay the irritation in the skin.
If the skin irritation is localized it may be very useful to apply a cold compress before sleeping, because this will relieve the congestion and enable the patient to get off to sleep. Whenever the skin is hot and irritable the cold compress should be used. It can do no harm, and there is no other measure that will give so much relief to the hot, irritable skin.
One should remember that one spends one-third of one’s life in bed and so it is worth while thinking about it from the standpoint of health and comfort. The bed should be fairly firm, so that it holds the body without giving way too much. A sagging bed may cramp the muscles and the spine. For hygienic reasons no feathers should be used in the pillows or in any of the other parts. The covering clothes should be as light as possible, so that they give warmth without weight. It is wise for the skin sufferer to try to sleep with too little rather than too much covering, because overheating the skin is very disturbing to the sleep.
The covering of the body should be of cotton or silk material; certainly not wool.   Some people like to sleep without any covering to the body, and provided that the bed is well-aired every day there is much to be said for this habit. On the other hand, if the skin is actively throwing off the waste products of the system it is a good thing to wear pyjamas which can be changed and washed more easily than the sheets.
Taking the air-bath before retiring will help to relax the body and mind in readiness for sleep, but in any case a few minutes should be spent in “letting go” the limbs and the mind. Taking one’s business and other worries to bed is a great mistake, and if the mind is active it is a good plan to think of pleasant things. Try to remember pleasant holidays that have been spent under peaceful surroundings. Often in this relaxing, contemplative mood the mind will shut off its energy and the individual will be at sleep.
It is important to bear in mind that if one can go to sleep thinking of pleasant things one is far more likely to sleep quietly and to waken more refreshed and in a better frame of mind. The optimistic outlook is essential for the skin sufferer, and the best test for it is a good night’s sleep with dreams that do not cause any anxiety. When going to sleep there is no harm in changing the position of the body so as to relax all the muscles in turn. First lie on the back, then turn over on to the abdomen, then turn on the left side and finally turn on to the right side and then go to sleep.
A final hint: do not try to go to sleep. Sleep is a purely involuntary act, and no one can will it. It is something that is controlled by the body, and whilst we can rest by an act of will we cannot do the same with sleep. It is important, therefore, not to get the idea too much into the conscious mind. Think of relaxing and resting, and sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, will “steep your senses in forgetfulness.”
*45/154/5*
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