A new study in British Medical Journal found that there’s truth in the concept of “beauty sleep.” Sleep deprived people appear less healthy and less attractive compared with when they have a normal nightâ??s sleep, according to the study.
Twenty-three people, age 18 to 31, participated in the study, which was conducted in Stockholm, Sweden. Participants were first photographed after a night of eight hours of sleep and then after sleep deprivation 31 hours of wakefulness after a night of reduced sleep.
The photos were presented in a random order to 65 observers (age 18-61) who rated the photos for attractiveness, health and tiredness.
The sleep deprived photos of the participants were rated as less healthy, more tired and less attractive than the photos of them after a full night’s sleep. The authors wrote that the decrease in rated health was associated with ratings of increased tiredness and decreased attractiveness. They concluded that it “suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep-related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behavior.
The authors went on to say that the conclusions agree with existing models that describe a link between sleep and good health, as well as a link between attractiveness and health.
Dr. Donald Greenblatt, MD, director of the Strong Sleep Disorders Clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said the findings make sense biologically. When we sleep, our perspiration “naturally moisturizes” our skin, and lying down increases “blood flow to the face, so wrinkles are going to be less apparent, at least temporarily,” he said.
For access to the full study, visit the British Medical Journal website.
Dr. Jonov is a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgeries of the face, breast, and body at Seattle Plastic Surgery.