Skipping your beauty sleep may make you lose friends!

Woman asleep

Beauty sleep is officially a real thing, according to researchers who suggest that people who don't get a decent night's kip appear less attractive to others.

The research involved 25 male and female university students who were photographed after two days of sleep restriction and normal sleep. The following week, the volunteers photographed themselves after having two consecutive nights with only four hours of sleep.

The Karolinska Institute then invited 122 strangers from Sweden's capital city to rate the photos of the participants on attractiveness, trustworthiness, health and sleepiness. 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. People were rated by strangers as less healthy and approachable when they had exhausted faces.

"Sleep deprivation is associated with a wide variety of physiological changes, such as impaired immune function, reduced cardiovascular health, and even impaired glucose metabolism", she says, which is why people who are sleep deprived can be viewed as less healthy.

Sundelin and colleagues speculate that the effect of sleep deprivation on skin blood coloration may partly explain why poorly rested adults were rated less attractive and healthy.

"This study indicates that restricted sleep affects facial appearance negatively and decreases others' willingness to socialize with the sleep-restricted person". They also asked them, 'How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?'


The strangers were very capable of telling when the people in the photos were exhausted.

"People seem to be able to tell when someone needs more sleep, and are more inclined to leave them alone in that case", the authors wrote in the new work.

'We want our partners to be attractive and energetic.

"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.

"Telling someone they look exhausted says more about your perception of them than you might think", the authors wrote. 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.

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