Scientists find there is such a thing as beauty sleep (from NZ Herald)
Researchers claim to have found the first proof that getting a regular eight hours’ sleep a night really does make you appear healthier and more attractive.
When untrained observers were shown photographs of the faces of volunteers who had been deprived of sleep, they judged them to be less healthy and less attractive than photographs of the same volunteers when well-rested.
The finding will be welcomed by parents trying to get image-conscious teenagers off to bed, but is a blow to the cosmetics industry marketing beauty by the (expensive) bottle.
A Swedish study found that people were judged to be less healthy and less attractive if they were sleep deprived. Here are photos used in the study that show a subject well rested, left, and sleep-deprived, right. (British Medical Journal)
Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people
Objective To investigate whether sleep deprived people are perceived as less healthy, less attractive, and more tired than after a normal night’s sleep.
Design Experimental study.
Setting Sleep laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden.
Participants 23 healthy, sleep deprived adults (age 18-31) who were photographed and 65 untrained observers (age 18-61) who rated the photographs.
Intervention Participants were photographed after a normal night’s sleep (eight hours) and after sleep deprivation (31 hours of wakefulness after a night of reduced sleep). The photographs were presented in a randomised order and rated by untrained observers.
Main outcome measure Difference in observer ratings of perceived health, attractiveness, and tiredness between sleep deprived and well rested participants using a visual analogue scale (100 mm).
Results Sleep deprived people were rated as less healthy (visual analogue scale scores, mean 63 (SE 2) v 68 (SE 2), P<0.001), more tired (53 (SE 3) v 44 (SE 3), P<0.001), and less attractive (38 (SE 2) v 40 (SE 2), P<0.001) than after a normal night’s sleep. The decrease in rated health was associated with ratings of increased tiredness and decreased attractiveness.
Conclusion Our findings show that sleep deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive, and more tired compared with when they are well rested. This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behaviour. Studies are warranted for understanding how these effects may affect clinical decision making and can add knowledge with direct implications in a medical context.
From the British Medical Journal Christmas Edition 2010
Full text of study here