Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Get your beauty sleep or lose your friends

Get your beauty sleep or lose your friends

"People seem to be able to tell when someone needs more sleep, and are more inclined to leave them alone in that case", according to researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and New York University in the US. The researchers took another set of photographs of the students after they restricted their sleep to four hours a night for two consecutive nights. And a lack of sleep can make you so unappealing that your friends might stop hanging out with you.

Next, the researchers showed the photos to a different set of 122 volunteers they called "raters".

They also found that those rating "were less inclined to socialize with individuals who had gotten insufficient sleep", even rating them as less healthy than those who had slept properly. 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. They were also asked to rate participants' attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness. When asked the latter question, the participants said they were less willing to hang out with the sleepy looking photographs. However, Dr Sundelin also pointed out, "I don't want to worry people or make them lose sleep over these findings though".

"An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others", the researchers wrote in the study. "This study is a good reminder of how important sleep is to us".

"Something as easy as smiling might help", she said.

The good news is that these issues are fixable: just bloody well get some sleep, and, if you've had a rough night, expect that people may view you as slightly less approachable. If you're struggling to get enough sleep, she recommends stopping work on your phone or computer an hour before bed, keeping your bedroom just for sleeping, and trying to have regular sleep hours. "A 2013 study indicated that sleep-deprived people look a bit more sad, so smiling more may further counteract the effects of looking exhausted".

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