Reasons You're Waking Up With A Puffy Face

Sleep is a time of restoration and recovery — it's when our bodies repair our cells and organs, while also stimulating our brains in order to regulate our emotional states, per Healthline. We've all had nights where we didn't get enough rest and we wake up feeling grumpy with bags under our eyes. In a 2013 study reported by the Sleep Research Society, those who were sleep-deprived woke up with swollen eyes and droopy skin. 


While it's normal to have some puffiness in the morning, there may be reasons other than sleep deprivation. It's especially frustrating when you're going through your nightly skincare regimen, drinking your sleepy tea, and making sure you're in bed before 10 p.m. You expect to wake up with a fresh face and glowing skin but end up looking like a blowfish. If you're getting your beauty rest but are still waking up looking bloated, there may be other factors that are contributing to your a.m. puffy face.

You're consuming too much salt

If you've had a sushi date or perhaps some wings for Superbowl night, you're probably going to wake up with a swollen face. Healthline reported that foods with a lot of salt and monosodium glutamate cause your face to swell up. "Normally after eating a meal that is high in sodium," says registered dietician Starla Garcia, "your body needs to balance itself out, so [it] will end up holding onto water in certain places, which can include the face." Some high-sodium foods include chips, cheese, pizza, and pretzels, so if you don't want to wake up puffy, it's best to avoid those snacks before bedtime.


According to WebMD, the reason salt bloats you is because it draws water into your blood vessels, making them larger than normal. More than 2,000 milligrams of sodium a day will cause your face to look puffy in the morning. Try to limit yourself to less than a teaspoon of salt and you'll likely wake up less bloated.

You didn't wash your makeup off before snoozing

We've all been there — it's the end of the night, we want to hit the sack, and we're guilty of that one before-bed beauty mistake: not removing our makeup. While we know that it's a huge skin faux-pas, sometimes our bed looks too comfy to resist and before we know it, we're convincing ourselves that just one night without washing our faces won't hurt. Come morning, we wake up with swollen, irritated eyes.


When you go to sleep with makeup on, flakes from your mascara or eyeshadow can work their way into your eyes and irritate the skin around the area, skincare line Paula's Choice warned. Foundation can also clog pores, which can lead to breakouts on the face. "You are doing your skin a big favor by removing your makeup before going to bed. Not only are you allowing your skin cells to repair themselves at night, you also wake up with glowing skin," Dr. Jaishree Sharad told Vogue India. "Leaving makeup on and sleeping can result in puffiness, rash, itchy skin, milia, and even acne," the celebrity dermatologist continued. Your best bet for a non-puffy face? Take the extra five minutes to wash that makeup off before your slumber.


You have allergies or a sinus infection

Sometimes, your puffy face in the morning can be due to a health issue beyond your control. If you're prone to seasonal allergies and you find yourself congested throughout the day, you'll most likely wake up swollen. To make it worse, you can also ingest dust, pollen, and other irritants throughout the night without realizing it, per Medical News Today. If you're itchy and sneezy, you may be suffering from allergies and will want to address them so your swelling doesn't get worse.


If your symptoms include postnasal drip, an achy face, or a fever, you may have a sinus infection, which causes fluid to block your sinuses, resulting in inflammation (via Cleveland Clinic). The great news is that it can be treated with over-the-counter allergy medicine and decongestants. However, if symptoms prevail for more than 10 days, you'll want to see your doctor for antibiotics or prescription steroid sprays.

It's that time of the month for you

Period bloat is a real thing and it doesn't just affect your stomach, but also your face as well. Waking up feeling crampy is no fun but adding a puffy face to the mix is enough for anyone on their periods to crawl back into bed. Unfortunately, life isn't like gym class where we can sit the period out (pun intended). So what causes facial swelling during our monthly visit from Aunt Flo? According to Medical News Today, menstruation causes our body to retain water and can cause our faces to swell as that time of the month comes around. The bright side to this is if you're looking a bit puffy, you may be able to pinpoint where you are in your menstrual cycle and be prepared with a pad.


Mayo Clinic suggests that besides consuming less salt around this time, magnesium supplements or water pills can help with the bloat. Be sure to consult with your doctor first before taking anything. Yoga, exercise, and massages also help with PMS symptoms and you don't have to tell us twice to take the time for some relaxation.

You had a few alcoholic drinks

Many have a glass or two of wine to unwind in the evening but if you over-imbibe, that can lead to a puffy face upon waking. Drinking booze causes blood vessels to dilate, which in turn leads to inflammation, per Westlake Dermatology. Alcohol is also a diuretic (hello frequent bathroom breaks) and ridding your body of water will naturally dehydrate you, which equals water retention. You're also affected by what type of adult beverage you consume. The higher the alcohol content, the more parched you'll end up. For example, beer has a much lower alcohol by volume percent than hard spirits such as vodka or tequila, so if you want to prevent swelling, stick to the lighter stuff.


In order to minimize puffiness, dermatologist Dr. Heidi Waldorf advises drinking plenty of water before consuming alcohol and switching to H2O in between drinks, per Real Self. You don't have to be a complete teetotaler — just be sure to stay well-hydrated.

Your sleep position can cause fluid retention

We know that sleeping naturally causes our faces to swell but did you know that how you sleep can cause even more puffiness? "Being horizontal while we sleep allows fluid to redistribute and settle in dependent areas due to gravitational force and pressure. For example, if you sleep on one side, then it's likely that the side of your face on your pillow will be puffier than the other," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King shared with Licensed esthetician Patricia Giles goes on to note that your eyes show "the most signs of fatigue because it's the most strained and fragile area." As you sleep through the night, fluid retention can build up, creating that not-so-wanted puffy look.


Instead of sleeping on your side or completely flat, try propping your head up a bit. Stomach sleepers should also change their positions. "If possible, elevate your head with more than one pillow and sleep on your back. This also helps not to mark the face so much, which is related to the appearance of wrinkles," dermatologist Dr. Monica Aribi advised, per L'Officiel. The takeaway? Save the spooning for after you and your partner are already awake.

You had a cry session before bedtime

If you had a fight with a loved one or were watching "Terms of Endearment" before going to sleep, you may have shed quite a few tears. This type of crying is made up of emotional tears and causes more moisture than the lacrimal drainage system can handle, according to Medical News Today, which can cause puffiness around your eyes and nose. In addition, there are basal tears – naturally occurring moisture that helps keep our peepers hydrated — and reflex tears, which happens when we have something in our eyes. The latter two don't cause too much swelling in the morning, but the emotional tears definitely do.


Combine the overflow of water from your lacrimal glands and sleeping horizontally and you get a recipe for eyes that are swollen shut in the morning. To combat puffiness, Diamond Vision suggests rinsing your face with cold water and then placing an ice pack over your eyes for 15 minutes, followed by two cold green tea bags over your lids for 10 minutes. Next, soothing cucumber rounds for a few minutes with a pair of potato slices as the finishing touch will ensure you'll wake up puff-free and no one will know you had a cry-fest the night before.