Beauty sleep is a real thing, researchers find


The results revealed that the strangers perceived those who lacked sleep as less healthy and less attractive. When the participants were photographed after two consecutive days of just four hours of sleep a night, they were viewed as less attractive, less healthy, and less than trustworthy.

The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm sent 25 university students home with a kit to measure night-time movements and check they were getting the amount of sleep they reported they were. Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others. Not only that, but when people were exhausted, they were rated as less attractive and less healthy than when they were well rested.

It turns out that just two consecutive nights of restricted sleep can make you appear less attractive to others and, even worse, make them less interested in hanging out with you, according to a study in Royal Society Open Science. Researchers also asked, "How much would you like to socialize with this person in the picture?" Basically, if you look more exhausted, you also look more unhealthy, and this might trigger some diseases-avoiding reactions in others - which would explain why people would avoid socializing with sleep-deprived people. However, plenty of people fall short of getting as much sleep as they need - Gallup reports that 42 percent of adults in the US don't get enough shut-eye. The students were asked to get a good night's sleep for two nights in a row.

In short, people can tell when you're exhausted and think you are less attractive when you haven't got enough sleep.

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Next, the researchers showed the photos to a different set of 122 volunteers they called "raters". "An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others".

"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".

"I don't want to worry people or make them lose sleep over these findings though".

The study sample size was small and there's still a lot more research to be done when it comes to determining how important those 7-8 hours of sleep really are, but we can always get behind another reason to catch up on some much-needed zzz's.