Beauty sleep is not a myth, says new research

Amos Gonzales
May 18, 2017

You already know that a good night's sleep and weight loss have a strong correlation, but now studies officially show that there's a connection between shut-eye and perceived attractiveness.

They recruited 25 volunteers who had their photo taken twice - once after two consecutive nights of normal sleep (about seven and a half hours) and again after two consecutive nights of poor sleep (about four hours and 15 minutes). Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others.

They were also given a sleep tracking device so they could not cheat.

Next, the photographs were shown to 122 participants who rated the images on attractiveness, trustworthiness, health and sleepiness.

Beauty sleep is a real thing, scientists studying the "negative effects of restricted sleep on facial appearance and social appeal" have found.

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They also were asked how much they would like to socialize with the person in the photo.

That's potentially a problem for a lot of people: According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults over the age of 18 need a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night - and many don't get that. 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, researchers tell people they shouldn't worry too much about this.

If the person looked exhausted, they were marked less on attractiveness. The Karolinska Institute researchers says this makes sense in evolutionary terms. "An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others", they wrote.

Dr Gayle Brewer, a psychology expert at the University of Liverpool and member of the British Psychological Association, said: "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 really should be getting more sleep. So for now, try your best to avoid those lost hours of mind-numbing Instagram scrolling before bed-and get some damn beauty sleep.

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