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20 May 2017, 12:52 | Audrey Hill
The findings show beauty sleep is a real thing. Pixabay
The findings underscore the link between sleep, attractiveness and a healthy appearance, suggesting that beauty sleep really is a thing.
The Independent reports that Stockholm University researchers conducted the study among 25 participants. A week later, they were asked to restrict themselves to only four hours sleep per night for two nights in a row.
122 volunteers (65 women, 57 men) aged between 18 to 65 were then asked how much they would like to socialize with the person in the photo. The strangers also said they would be less willing to socialise with the exhausted students, who they also perceived to be less healthy, Royal Society Open Science journal reports.
'An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others, ' say the researchers. However, researchers tell people they shouldn't worry too much about this.
"Recent findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking exhausted are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others", they add.
The study did not address the reason that a lack of sleep makes others want to avoid you, but the authors have a hypothesis.
Telling someone that they look exhausted could say more about our perception of that person than we might think, the study concludes. On average, the students slept a total of seven hours less over the two restricted-sleep sessions. Or, she adds, it could also be that we tend to assume that people who look exhausted aren't going to be in the mood for socializing.
"If you can see someone hasn't slept, you'll have a good idea that they might not be the best person to be around", she added. "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again". But there were small differences in the ratings depending on whether the photo showed a person rested or sleep deprived. They were also asked to rate the subjects on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness. "This study is a good reminder of how important sleep is to us".
"If someone looks exhausted, they look less interested in being with you and as if they would rather be asleep or alone", he said. As it turns out, not getting enough sleep made participants score worse on all counts.
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