Not having proper sleep may make you appear less attractive to others

Lydia Fleming
May 20, 2017

These changes alter our perception of attractiveness, intelligence and health, according to the study, suggesting beauty sleep could be a real thing.

Researchers recruited 25 university students, both male and female, to participate in a sleep experiment. Participants were asked to get a good night's sleep for two consecutive nights and then a week later, they were required to only give themselves four hours sleep for two nights in a row.

The researchers then took to the streets of Stockholm to show the two sets of photographs to 122 strangers, asking them a range of questions from "how much would you like to socialize with this person in the picture?" to "how trustworthy is this person?"

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The exhausted people's faces were also enough to put strangers off socialising with them. "An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others".

The study published in the Royal Society journal Open Science is the third to connect poor sleep to a less attractive and less healthy appearance. Dark-circled "panda" eyes and puffy lids can even put others off socialising with you, they say. "A couple of participants were even rated as more attractive after sleep restriction". The respondents also found the photos of students with sleep deprivation less attractive, compared to the well-rested versions of the same people. "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again". These people were asked to rate the subjects on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness.

"Findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others", the study authors conclude. Researchers also asked, "How much would you like to socialize with this person in the picture?"

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You know that it's important to get a good night's sleep, and odds are you probably try to do the best that you can.

"The reasons for avoiding people who look sleepy may include the fact that sleepy individuals are at a higher risk for accidents, more prone to be carriers of contagious pathogens or aspects making them less socially rewarding to be around". We really should be getting more sleep.

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