Skipping your beauty sleep may make people avoid you

The findings show beauty sleep is a real thing.      Pixabay

Two consecutive nights of restricted sleep could be enough to make someone appear less attractive to others, as well as making people less interested in hanging out with them, according to a joint study from New York University and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Researchers asked 25 university students to get a good night's sleep for two consecutive nights, then sleep for only four hours a night for two nights the week after.

The results showed the strangers were able to capably recognize whether the volunteer had slept poorly and said they would be less willing to socialize with the person they had perceived as less healthy.

'An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others, ' say the researchers. After that, they were photographed by the researchers.

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The Swedish participants aged 18 to 47 were then photographed after each two day routine and rated by 122 people for looks, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness. But there were small differences in the ratings depending on whether the photo showed a person rested or sleep deprived.

"If someone looks less healthy, you are more likely to withdraw from them", Tina Sundelin, the study's lead researcher, told The Guardian. Two subjects were even rated as more attractive in their sleep-restricted photos.

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. However, plenty of people fall short of getting as much sleep as they need - Gallup reports that 42 percent of adults in the USA don't get enough shut-eye. Perhaps when we don't get enough sleep, that results in restricted blood flow to the skin, which in turn would make us look more pale and exhausted. "We want our partners to be attractive and energetic". Basically, when you see someone who looks sick, the last thing you want to do is hang out with them.

Still, the findings are interesting - if only as a reminder of the many ways that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your wellbeing, including, apparently, your social wellbeing.

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