Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Medicine | By Rogelio Lindsey

Lack Of Sleep Makes People Less Attractive

Lack Of Sleep Makes People Less Attractive

That's right: beauty sleep is real.

The study authors found that overall, raters were less willing to socialize with tired-looking subjects compared with those who were well rested.

A couple of bad nights is all it takes to make you look less attractive, a new study has shown.

The research involved 25 male and female university students who were photographed after two days of sleep restriction and normal sleep. They were given a kit to measure their night time movements, to check how long they have slept. 122 strangers were then asked to rate the photos based on attractiveness, health, energy and trustworthiness.

The team, lead by Dr Tina Sundelin, found that strangers were good at assessing how exhausted a person was, and that they rated the sleepy set of photographs as less attractive than the photos of the same people when they were well-rested. As it turns out, not getting enough sleep made participants score worse on all counts.

'An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others, ' say the researchers. Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others. People were rated by strangers as less healthy and approachable when they had exhausted faces.

The researchers said this might also have to do with evolution.

The participants underwent each sleep schedule about a week apart and wore the same dark T shirt, with their hair pulled back, and no make up or jewellery.

Of course, "most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again", lead researcher Tina Sundelin, Ph.D., told BBC. These are small tweaks, but they can help you nab more sleep and change how the world perceives you.

The study was well-received in the community. 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".

Why would we - apparently, unconsciously - want to avoid people who get too little sleep?

Nevertheless, it might be a good idea to try and get the recommended eight hours of sleep whenever possible.

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