Lack of sleep makes you ugly, new research shows

Faith Castro
May 18, 2017

But sometimes we forget just how important sleep truly is, and need a little nudge from a different direction.

The research involved 25 volunteers who agreed to be photographed after having had two consecutive nights of good sleep, and then again after having had only four hours sleep for two nights in a row. Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others.

Their night-time movements were tracked so they couldn't cheat, naturally. "This suggests that one might also avoid contact with sleep-deprived, or sleepy-looking, individuals, as a strategy to reduce health risk and poor interactions".

Beauty sleep is a real thing, according to researchers who have shown that people who miss out on sleep do appear less attractive to others.

After each recorded night, researchers took pictures of the students and showed them to another group of people who were asked to analyze the photos and rate each student based on attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness.

"Telling someone they look exhausted says more about your perception of them than you might think", the authors wrote. Strangers were also less likely to want to socialise with that person.

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In even more bad news for poor sleepers, they found that people are less inclined to want to socialize with you if you're exhausted. If you're struggling to get enough sleep, she recommends stopping work on your phone or computer an hour before bed, keeping your bedroom just for sleeping, and trying to have regular sleep hours. However, researchers tell people they shouldn't worry too much about this.

The authors said that their findings made sense in evolutionary terms.

Sundelin notes that the impact of sleep restriction on a person's appearance is "fairly small", but it can make people perceive you differently.

"Judgement of attractiveness is often unconscious, but we all do it, and we are able to pick up on even small cues like whether someone looks exhausted or unhealthy". "We want our partners to be attractive and energetic".

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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