For those of you who believe in the importance of beauty sleep, a recent study offers scientific proof that you’re right. Swedish researchers have found that if you want to look attractive and healthy, the best thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep.
The researchers investigated the relationship between sleep and perceptions of attractiveness and health; they believe this research is important due to the number of people currently suffering from sleep disorders and disturbed sleep.
23 participants between the ages of 18 and 31 were photographed between 2pm and 3pm on two occasions, once after being deprived of sleep and once after normal sleep. Smokers were barred from the research, and alcohol was not allowed for two days before the experiment.
The participants were photographed in a well-lit room with a fixed distance between them and the camera. They wore no makeup during both photography sessions; they also had their hair loose (combed back if they had long hair) and underwent similar cleaning or shaving procedures. They were told to have a neutral, relaxed facial expression in both photos.
Sixty-five observers, who were not told the sleep status of the subjects, rated the photos on attractiveness and whether the individuals looked healthy/unhealthy or tired/not tired. They judged the faces of sleep-deprived participants as less attractive, less healthy and more tired.
The authors of the study say these findings show that facial signals of sleep deprived people affect facial appearance and judgments of health, tiredness and attractiveness.