A lack of sleep can make you significantly less attractive to others and reduce your social appeal, according to research by Swedish scientists.
The study, published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, found that acute sleep deprivation and looking tired will make you appear more ugly and perceived as “less healthy” by others.
The Karolinska Institute asked 25 male and female university students to be photographed make-up free.
In the first set of images, the students had eight hours of sleep for two consecutive nights. In the second, they were restricted to four hours in bed for two nights.
A group of 122 strangers then rated the photos on how much they wanted to socialise with them. They also assessed their attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness. The scores were lower among the “sleepy” photos in all categories except trustworthiness.
The research also found that people might avoid contact with “sleepy-looking” individuals, as a strategy to reduce health risks and poor interactions.
“Having an unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might thus activate disease-avoidance mechanisms in others and render one’s surroundings less socially inclined,” the study said.
The findings underscore the link between sleep, attractiveness and a healthy appearance, suggesting that beauty sleep really is a thing.
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