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Sleep More to Look Better Naturally - According to a New Study

Posted by Blue Block Glasses Team on June 04, 2017 . 0 Comments

Can Sleep Affect Appearance?

We’ve all heard about the infamous 'beauty sleep'. Sleep may be the closest thing to a fountain of youth, but how much truth is there to this statement?  A recent study conducted at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute sheds some interesting insight into the relationship between sleep and appearance.

25 healthy participants were photographed once after receiving the standard 8-hours of sleep for 2 consecutive nights, and a second time receiving only 4-hours of sleep for 2 consecutive nights – all else equal. Following the photo session, they rated their sleepiness ranging from 1 (extremely alert) to 9 (extremely sleepy) [1].

Separately 122 individuals; who were not aware of the purpose of the study and not a student of psychology rated 50 facial photos of the participants on a scale concerning their sociability, trustworthiness, attractiveness, and health. The same subject was never shown twice in a row, and raters only had exactly 6 seconds to make a response before the next face would appear. A quick example is shown below:

Sleep deprivation and appearance

Which face would you rate as more sociable?

Sleep deprivation and appearance

Which face would rate as more trustworthy?


Do You Appear Tired?

The researchers found that raters were less willing to socialize with subjects who were significantly sleep restricted. Sleep-restricted subjects were also rated as less attractive, less healthy and sleepier compared with their well-rested selves [2]. However, there was no significant difference in ratings of trustworthiness between the two conditions.

Sleepiness vs. attractiveness

The line plot above shows the relationship between self-reported "sleepiness" index and viewer rated attractiveness

What this means is that the less sleep your body gets, the less attractive and sociable people would find you [1]. This suggests that we are sensitive to sleep related visual cues and this has potential implications in social interactions.  

Visual Cues of Sleep Deprivation

Many notable impacts on appearance arise as a result of inadequate sleep. These are illustrated below. 

Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Appearance

Notable symptoms of inadequate sleep can include but are not limited to: skin coloration, a degree of redness, paleness, poor posture and facial shifts [3]. Some studies have even linked this to decreased pro-social behavior and increased aggression [4].  

So How Can You Get that Beauty Sleep?





On other sections of our blog, we have covered the Basics of Sleep, as well as great Questions to find out if you are sleeping well.  If you know that sleep is an issue for you, then it's important to start looking into the things that could be causing you to have poor sleep. We at Somnitude believe that evening exposure to blue light in the evening hours is an often underestimated cause of sleep disruption.

One of the ways to reduce light exposure in the evening hours is by using your mobile device or computer more prudently, to prevent reduced sleep quality. To do this, it is recommended to stop using them a few hours before bed. However, if this cannot be avoided, there are proven aids that can assist you. Many of these aids come in the form of filters that blocks sources of negative light coming from your devices. However if you have multiple light sources you may want to consider a pair of Blue Blocking Glasses to ensure your eyes are covered.

So the next time someone mentions that you 'look a little tired' you might want to consider sleeping in the next morning.



[1] Akerstedt T, Gillberg M. 1990 Subjective and objective sleepiness in the active individual. Int. J. Neurosci. 52, 29–37.

 [2] Axelsson J, Sundelin T, Ingre M, Van Someren EJ, Olsson A, Lekander M. 2010 Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people. BMJ 341, c6614.

 [3] Sundelin T, Lekander M, Kecklund G, Van Someren E, Olsson A, Axelsson J. 2013 Cues of fatigue: effects of sleep deprivation on facial appearance. Sleep 36, 1355–1360.

[4] Kamphuis J, Meerlo P, Koolhaas JM, Lancel M. 2012 Poor sleep as a potential causal factor in aggression and violence. Sleep Med. 13, 327–334.

[5] Jacob, S. The Truth About Beauty Sleep. Reviewed by William Blahd, MD. Published 2015, WebMD Feature.

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