Beauty sleep

Sleep is an increasingly rare commodity. In a society where you can do virtually anything that you want to do at any time of day the part of life that has become eroded is sleep. Lack of sleep has a range of serious negative health effects but if that does not motivate you to get some shut eye then it might interest you to know that adequate sleep also makes you more attractive.

This has been shown in a recent study where the researchers had non-smoking volunteers aged between eighteen and 31 take part in two photographic sessions. Each session took place between 2pm and 3pm. The first photograph that was taken was taken after a good night’s sleep whereas the second was taken after a night of sleep deprivation.

To make sure that there was none of the “before and after” effect that you see in commercials for weight loss products, all pictures were taken in the same well-lit room, with a fixed camera and at a fixed distance. The participants were not allowed to wear make-up, their hair was combed back, and they had to undertake similar washing and shaving procedures before each photograph. Finally, for two days before the study began, and then throughout the study, the participants were banned from drinking alcohol. Everything possible was done to ensure that changes in sleep were the only variable at play.

Having taken the photographs, a second group of people was asked to rate attractiveness and health of the person in each photograph.

The results showed that in the vast majority of cases the observers rated the photos of the people who had a good sleep as being more attractive, healthier, and having more vigour.

What this tells us is that people are sensitive to sleep related facial cues and interpret signs showing adequate sleep positively. This shows that in an evolutionary sense, we know sleep is a necessary thing and someone who is getting it is in good shape for breeding and whatever else.

This is appalling news for parents of young children; it’s bad enough to be running at ten per cent of optimal but to know that others are thinking you ugly while you are at it is just the final straw. It is also important news for that party you have on the weekend; forget about the new eyeliner (you too guys) and just start getting some quality time between the sheets.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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