Sassy Style Talk With AJ: From Sleep-Deprived To Wide-Eyed In the Blink of an Eye, by Anita Roberts

How did you sleep?  This is a question asked a million times over, every day.  My household is no exception.  Fatigue is a problem for everyone at some point, but for people with autoimmune illness it’s a constant curse.  In fact, if you ask all of us what one of our most pressing issues is, we’ll cite fatigue as one of our main complaints.  The reasons are as varied as the solutions.  For this article, I’m talking about you folks who have your thyroid levels up, are adequately medicated, and are basically on track.  If your fatigue is caused by a deeper medical issue, like sleep apnea, check out our man Rash and his great article on that.  In fact, skip the eye brighteners and head to the doctor’s office!

For the rest of us, it’s inevitable that we struggle with the occasional bout of sluggishness, one of the hallmarks of our disease.  Having both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and an RA type of illness, I get nailed with fatigue.  The first thing to look to is your diet and nutritional intake.  As Rash mentioned, vitamin deficiency can affect us in many ways, and can significantly diminish sleep and subsequently our ability to heal and be at our energetic best.  This can be exaggerated if you have food allergies such as dairy, gluten or stomach ailments like Crohn’s or diverticulitis.  Supplements are a solution for people with these challenges, but are no substitution for food-based nutrition.  The fact is our bodies are designed to function best when eating a variety of foods that contain all the vitamins and minerals we require. Whole food provides the best means for breaking down and assimilating these nutrients.  A proper diet has always been the most certain way to good health.

Excess caffeine can disrupt sleep, stress your adrenals and is never a good choice for energy.  Sugar is also a disruptor, and can actually ADD wrinkles to your face by disrupting collagen production!  Put down that doughnut and you might just look five years younger!  Let’s not ignore our addiction to sodas and energy drinks.  Tomfoolery, I say!  We all know green tea, yerba mate, water and fresh juices straight from the vine (in moderation) are the better choices.  Snacking on nuts, fruit, soft cheeses, eggs, and lean protein is a much better way to get energy throughout the day.  Trail mix and a boiled egg will have you humming through the afternoon.  A quick veggie snack with some cheese.   An apple with peanut butter.  You get the idea.  It takes planning and effort, yes, but the payoff is gorgeous.

A quality, age-appropriate eye cream and moisturizing routine is a must.  You younger guys and gals will keep those wrinkles at bay with just a little effort each evening.  Since my teens, I have religiously washed my face nightly then moisturized.  I have recently discovered Kinerase (kinetin is the secret ingredient), and am noticing the crepey skin of my eyes is firming, plumping and I look less puffy and younger overall.  Taking care of your face and skin starts with nutrition, rest, exercise and good habits with regard to nightly cleansing and product use.  Like they say, the best beauty attribute is healthy skin.

For those occasional nights of poor sleep when you wake up looking like I often do, with the bags under your eyes packed for a two week holiday, there are some quick fixes that will have everyone fooled and in awe of your verve.  Keep your cool!  Splashing a bit of cold or cool water on the face is bracing, and affects the veins under the skin, constricting them and reducing puffiness.   For those of us with hypo symptoms and the puffy eyes that go with that, on the market now are some fabulous eye rollers that really do reduce swelling.  Garnier makes a good one for those looking for economy.  I use Clinique’s and find it’s an excellent product.  A word of caution on these: it’s best not to use them daily.  They usually contain caffeine and impact the little veins under the skin.  They can cause thread veins to show up if used too often.

A trick employed by makeup artists to perk up eyes is to apply white to the waterline of the bottom of the eye.  I use a shimmery white powder by Coastal Scents on the bottom waterline and in the inner corner of the eye.  Just a touch, dabbed on, not caked or rubbed in, instantly opens up my eyes and makes me look perkier and livelier!  Apply with a clean brush specifically for that purpose and be sure to wash makeup off thoroughly in the evening.  I also use a product called Moon Beam by benefit.  It’s part of most every serious makeup artist’s arsenal, and is truly happy youthfulness in a bottle!  A dash of that on the cheeks and highlight areas of the face and you’ll look dewy and fresh.  Splashing on some citrus scent or essential oils is also a great way to encourage your body to wake up. Aromatherapy is a great way to revive or  relax depending on what you’re looking to achieve and you’ll smell yummy!

Sleep-deprived days are not the days to pile on the makeup, as you may be inclined to do.  Just the opposite.  The most flattering thing you can do is to hydrate your skin and body, cut that foundation with good moisturizer, or use a tinted moisturizer, and keep things light.  Concentrate on light concealer use, a little shimmer, a light blush and dewy lips, and don’t overdo the eye shadow.  Curl those lashes, slick on mascara, spritz and go!  Everyone will think you’re a dashing dynamo and clamor to be on your team.  You go, girl!

By Sarah Downing

My name is Sarah. I was born and grew up in England and currently live in Düsseldorf, Germany, with my fiancé Corey and my cuddly cat Biscuit. I work as a translator and writer for my own company Aardwolf Text Services ( and I love vintage clothes and music, as well as singing karaoke.


  1. You covered just about everything here. Great advice! I’d love to drink coffee but I’ve found nutrition really does make a huge difference and it’s not worth crashing and losing a day to taste a cup ‘o joe again!

  2. coffee is fab! i have a cup daily, in the morning. i limit my caffeine pretty severely, as i mentioned, and focus on b and d vitamins instead. but that morning cup of mocha capp is just divine!

  3. hopefully one of these days my adrenals will let me enjoy just a cup once in a while. until then, i smell it whenever i can 🙂

  4. Hello there I am so thrilled I found your website, I really found you by chance, while I was looking on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and an all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

    1. Hi Bonita,

      Thanks for your kind comments:-). I’m happy you found my website too, particularly if some of the information proves useful for you. I can’t really take credit for this particular post as it was written by my good friend Anita who sometimes writes guest columns for Butterflies & Phoenixes, but feel free to look around when you have more time and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have on your mind. I like the theme too – I’m lucky in that I have a very talented sister-in-law and niece who worked together to create the Butterflies & Phoenixes logo. I wanted to feature something fun and colourful as all too often chronic illness can be bloody depressing, so it’s nice to have something to make you smile.

      Have a great Sunday!


    2. i second that bonita, thank you! and may i comment that your name is great. a beautiful woman with an appropriate name! rock on. look forward to hearing more from you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *