Not getting your “beauty sleep?” You may be harming your social life

Not getting your “beauty sleep?” You may be harming your social life

Beauty sleep is real, and not getting enough of it may be seriously hurting your social life.

That’s according to recent research published in the Royal Society Open Science Journal.

In the study, 25 men and women were asked to sleep for eight hours two nights in a row and were then told to sleep just four hours two nights in a row the following week. Photos were taken after both two-night sleeps which were then be rated by 122 adults. The “sleepers” in the photos were given directions (do not wear makeup, put your hair back in a ponytail) to ensure outside factors did not affect the opinions of raters.

The raters looked at each photo and considered the person’s levels of attractiveness, trustworthiness and health. They were also asked to consider how likely they would be to socialize with the individual in the photo.

Researchers found the sleep-deprived participants were rated as less attractive and unhealthier, and that raters also didn’t want to socialize with the sleep-deprived subjects. Sleep deprivation causes blood flow to the skin to be limited, which study authors think may explain the phenomenon.

This led them to conclude that just two nights of inadequate sleep may make an individual less attractive and healthy to others.

These results are alarming, since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 1 in 3 Americans are not getting the recommended 7+ hours of sleep per day.

Dr. Darius Loghmanee, a sleep specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center and Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., says this study adds physical appearance to the long list of problems associated with poor sleep.

“Many of us are sleep deprived, whether due to a sleep disorder or simply not setting aside an adequate amount of time for sleep.”

But Dr. Loghmanee says there is more to consider.

“Our ability to compensate with wake-promoting drugs like caffeine or by taking naps can decrease symptoms and delay our efforts to look for and address the cause of the sleepiness. With this in mind, it would be interesting to see if the study subjects would still have a noticeable change in appearance were they allowed to have a cup of coffee prior to their picture being taken.”

Dr. Loghmanee points out that ample availability of such stimulants is affecting how important we consider our rest.

“If we didn’t have such ready access to these stimulants, and the physical and intellectual costs associated with sleepiness were apparent, we would see a significant shift in the value we as a society put on our sleep health.”

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.