Photos reveal how different someone looks after a good night's sleep (left) compared to staying up for 31-hours straight.
Everyone knows that getting too little sleep makes you feel terrible, but new research suggests that cutting back on Zzzs actually makes you look noticeably worse as well.
Turns out, there’s a reason they call it beauty sleep.
That’s the bottom line of a Swedish study that finds that people are perceived as less attractive -- as well as less healthy and more tired -- when they’re sleep-deprived than when they’re well-rested.
And it should be a wake-up call to the 1 in 5 Americans who routinely get less than six hours of sleep a night, said John Axelsson, the researcher who led the study conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
“A good night’s sleep does not only improve your physiological health, it will also make you look healthier and more attractive, which in turn improves the chance of better treatments in a wide range of social situations,” said Axelsson, an associate professor in the clinical neuroscience department. His work was published online this week in the British Medical Journal.
Axelsson and his colleagues in Sweden and the Netherlands decided to test the notion that lack of sleep affects your looks -- in addition to your brain function, immune system, reaction time and vulnerability to a host of ills, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
So they recruited 23 healthy adults and took photos of them after a good night’s sleep and after they were forced to stay up for 31 hours straight. Then they asked 65 ordinary people to rate each photo according to how attractive, healthy and tired the subjects looked.
The results? The same people were perceived as 4 percent less attractive, 6 percent less healthy and 19 percent more tired when they were sleep deprived than when they were rested.
That’s not surprising to Dr. David E. Anderson of the Rocky Mountain Sleep Disorders Center in Great Falls, Mont. The physical effects of too little sleep can’t help but show up in your face, he said. It may not last after only a few missed snoozes, but long-term sleep deprivation can affect health -- and looks -- profoundly.
For everyone who believes that sleep deprivation doesn’t show, the new research proves otherwise, Axelsson said.
“We propose that sleep is a cheap and effective beauty treatment, both acutely and in the long-term,” he said. “Sleep should be seen as the body’s natural beauty treatment and a clear alternative or complement to other beauty treatments.”
How many hours of shut-eye do you get a night? Tell us about it in the comments.
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