Beauty sleep is a real thing, researchers find

Posted May 20, 2017

Researchers found that lack of sleep can make you appear less attractive to others.

The eye-opening study was conducted by the Karolinska Institute, which asked 25 university students to take part. During the following week, they were then asked to limit themselves to only four hours sleep per night for two consecutive days. They were then required to answer the question, 'How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?'

In addition, they also deemed the poorly rested subjects to be less attractive, less healthy and more sleepy compared to when they were well rested. "An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others". Not only that, but when people were exhausted, they were rated as less attractive and less healthy than when they were well rested.

The effect of sleep deprivation on other people's desire to socialize with that person was small, but still significant, according to the study's authors. On average, the students slept a total of seven hours less over the two restricted-sleep sessions. Researchers also asked, "How much would you like to socialize with this person in the picture?"

As IFL Science put it, "basically, when you see someone who looks sick, the last thing you want to do is hang out with them". "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again".

Whilst there was no difference in perceived trustworthiness, the study suggested that "naturalistic sleep loss can be detected in a face and that people are less inclined to interact with a sleep-deprived individual".

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As a result, they were less attractive to potential partners and less likely to be chosen by friends and colleagues to socialise with.

If the person looked exhausted, they were marked less on attractiveness.

"If someone looks exhausted, they look less interested in being with you and as if they would rather be asleep or alone", he said.

"This study is a good reminder of how important sleep is to us", Dr Gayle Brewer, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool told BBC News.

It's good to know you've got options if you've had a few rough nights, but Sundelin still encourages you to prioritize getting more sleep.

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