Beauty sleep really does exist, according to research

Alice Sholl
·Contributor
Sleeping woman
A few hours’ extra sleep can make a world of difference [Photo: Pexels]

Ever gone about your day with just a few hours sleep and prayed no one notices the bags under your eyes?

Unfortunately, people do notice – and even worse, yes, it does make you look less attractive.

Ouch.

According to research in the Royal Society Open Science journal, two bad nights of sleep is enough to make you look “significantly” more ugly, and people rate strangers as less approachable and healthy when they have tired faces.

So those puffy eyelids and panda eyes being a bad look wasn’t just you over-analysing things.

Eyes
Puffy eye lids are never a stylistic choice, exactly [Photo: Pexels]

Scientists had 25 university students take home a kit that would measure their night-time movements (just to check they were actually sleeping), and asked them to get a good night’s sleep for two consecutive nights.

Then a week later, they were asked to sleep for just four hours a night for two nights in a row.

Afterwards, they took photos of the volunteers (make-up free) after the good nights and the bad nights, and asked members of the public in Stockholm to rate the photos on health, sleepiness, attractiveness and trustworthiness.

They also asked them: “How much would you like to socialise with this person in the picture?”

People were pretty spot on at telling if the person was tired – and if they were, they tended to be rated as less attractive too.

Woman sleeping
Better hope those noisy neighbours don’t get in the way of your hot date [Photo: Pexels]

They also said they’d be less up for socialising with the sleepy students, who they considered to be less healthy too.

“An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others,” The Karolinska Institute researchers told the BBC.

In other words, it makes sense when it comes to evolution and avoiding unhealthy people.

Lead researcher Dr Tina Sundelin urged, however, that she doesn’t want the research to make people worry about losing sleep:

“Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again,” she said.

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