If you need more motivation to turn in early tonight, we’ve got news for you. A new study reveals that not only is “beauty sleep” a real thing, but people around you pick up on how rested you are thanks to your appearance.
The findings come from a group of researchers at The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. They recruited 25 students, including men and women, to participate in their sleep experiment. Each participant monitored two nights of good sleep (logging between 7 and 9 hours) and two nights of bad sleep (reaching no more than 4 hours) using sleep kits distributed by the research team. The morning after each recorded snooze, the participants had their pictures taken. A separate group of students then analyzed all of the photos and rated the students in them on attractiveness, health, sleepiness and trustworthiness.
Surprise, surprise: the sleep-deprived photos ranked lower in every category, and some judges went so far as to say they would be less likely to spend time with the people who looked so tired.
“Findings show that acute sleep deprivation and looking tired are related to decreased attractiveness and health, as perceived by others,” according to the study authors. They also rationalize the judges’ socialization choices with the evolution-based idea that unhealthy appearances, regardless of why they seem unhealthy, signal a health risk and potential threat to another person’s well-being, leading them to want to protect themselves.
The study was certainly limited by its small sample size, and there’s a lot more research to be done on the idea of “beauty sleep” specifically, but we know that logging 7 to 8 hours of sleep consistently is vital to our overall health. So turn Netflix off a little earlier tonight and pick up a book instead. You’ll likely drift off faster and wake up with a friendlier face.