Study Confirms Notion Of “Beauty Sleep”


Swedish researchers present data confirming that that people deprived of sleep for long periods appear less attractive and more unhealthy than those who are well rested. John Axelsson and colleagues conducted an experiment study involving 23 healthy, sleep deprived adults (ages 18 to 31 years) who were photographed and 65 untrained observers (ages 18 to 61 years) who rated the photographs.

The observers were asked to rate the faces of the 23 subjects, who were photographed after a normal night’s sleep and then after a night of sleep deprivation (kept awake for 31 hours). The photographs were standardized so that people were the same distance from the camera, wore no make-up and used the same expression. To the rating observers, the photographs of the subjects when they were deprived of sleep appeared less attractive and more unhealthy as compared to those taken when subjects were well rested. Reporting that: “Our findings show that sleep deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive, and more tired compared with when they are well rested,” the researches submit that: “This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behavior.”

John Axelsson, Tina Sundelin, Michael Ingre, Eus J W Van Someren, Andreas Olsson, Mats Lekander.  “Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people.”  BMJ 341: 14 December 2010; doi:10.1136/bmj.c6614.

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