“I need my beauty sleep,” you’d declare as your mother aggressively nudged you awake in high school.
Well it turns out, you were right!
New research suggests that people who miss out on sleep do appear less attractive to others. In fact, just a few nights of restricted sleep is enough to make a person look “significantly” more ugly. In the Stockholm University experiment, 25 participants were photographed after 2 days of sleep restriction and after normal sleep. Then, strangers rated whether they’d socialize with the participant in the photo. They also rated participants’ attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness.
The results showed that when sleep deprived, the participants were perceived to be less attractive, less healthy, more sleepy – and the raters were less inclined to socialize with them.
The researchers explained this in evolutionary terms saying, “an unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might active disease-avoiding mechanisms in others.” In other words, people don’t like to hang out with people who look sick.
Physical attractiveness can affect the way we perceive and treat an individual. Psychologists call this the physical attractiveness stereotype, which is the tendency to assume that people who are attractive possess socially desirable traits. According to various studies, beautiful people are viewed as healthier, more intelligent, and more likable. For example, facial symmetry, a universal sign of beauty, is often perceived as a sign of health, and general intelligence is positively linked to body symmetry.
There’s a reason why being tired makes you look, well, ugly. Dark circles and bags appear when the body is unable to rejuvenate at night due to lack of sleep. When you sleep, you distribute water in the body. Not getting enough sleep causes water to accumulate under the eyes. Stress, which is linked to lack of sleep, is what really beats you up. When you’re tired and stressed, you lose collagen, which makes your face baggy, produces less melanin (making you paler), and leads to wrinkles.
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