Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Health

Study: Sleep-deprived people look sad, unhealthy, less attractive

RECOMMENDED READING


People often joke about needing their "beauty sleep," but researchers in Sweden have provided scientific evidence that we really do.

People kept awake for 31 hours developed droopy, swollen eyelids, bloodshot eyes and dark circles under their eyes, according to the researchers, who relied on objective assessments provided by 40 observers who compared photographs of 10 people before and after sleep deprivation.

"We confirmed that sleep deprived people are perceived as more fatigued, less attractive, sadder, and less healthy than when they are rested, confirming the colloquial notion of beauty sleep," the researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Sleep.

The sleep-deprived also appeared to have more facial wrinkles, a consequence of poor sleep unverified by science until now — at least in humans. Rats deprived of sleep quickly develop nasty skin lesions on their paws and tails.

"It is well-known that when you sleep the blood flow to your skin increases dramatically," said Tina Sundelin of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, who led the research team. "It thus seemed likely that sleep loss would affect the skin."

The 10 sleep-deprived subjects said they felt mentally fatigued, and they developed a droopy mouth that the observers thought indicated sadness. "Sleep loss is indeed related to a negative mood," Sundelin said. "We also seem to be more emotional in general when we don't get enough sleep."

The research provides strong support for the folk wisdom that good sleep improves facial appearance. In fact, a 2010 paper in the British Medical Journal co-authored by Sundelin actually carried the title "Beauty Sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people.” That study, like the recent study in the journal Sleep, also concluded that sleep-deprived people look less attractive and less healthy than they do when well-rested.

This has implications for interpersonal interactions, according to the researchers.

"Since faces contain a lot of information on which humans base their interactions with each other, how fatigued a person appears may affect how others behave toward them," Sundelin said in a news release announcing the results of the research.

As though supporting this assertion, the Urban Dictionary defines the meaning of the phrase "You look tired" as "Politically correct way of saying that you look like s---."

The findings also suggest that the appearance of fatigue is something people are willing to pay handsomely to avoid. "The desire to look less fatigued is one of the primary motivators for undergoing cosmetic surgery," the authors of the Sleep study point out.

But it's not all about vanity, according to Sundelin. Sleep may be involved in health as well, which she and her colleagues hope to demonstrate next.

"We are actually conducting studies at the moment looking at disease and appearance," she said. "There are studies out there on how stress, disease and physical or mental exertion affect health, but a lack of studies specifically looking at how facial cues of fatigue relate to health."

Tom Valeo writes frequently about health matters. He can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

WASHINGTON — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, ...
Published: 11/21/17

Owning dogs may be great for your heart and lower risk of death, study finds

Dog ownership correlates with lower rates of mortality and some fatal diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, a study published this past week concluded.The study in the journal Scientific Reports found that canine ownership was associated wit...
Published: 11/19/17
New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they’re discussing some new finding or treatment.They warn about studies’ limitations. They point out what isn’t known. They ...
Published: 11/17/17
BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

VALRICO — Health care officials broke ground Thursday on the long anticipated HealthHub at Bloomingdale, which will bring about 150 jobs to an area that’s experiencing tremendous growth and provide patients with the latest in technological care.A pro...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/19/17
In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.Enrollment has surged 47 p...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Where did I leave my keys?As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.Humans begin to lose cognitive ability at age 25. Dementia, or the decline of memory most commonly seen in aging adults, takes hold early on and is gradual, but ac...
Published: 11/16/17
Mayo Clinic Q&A: gangrene causes and prevention; irregular bleeding

Mayo Clinic Q&A: gangrene causes and prevention; irregular bleeding

PEOPLE WITH DIABETES, PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE AT INCREASED RISK OF GANGRENEI have heard that a stubbed toe can lead to gangrene in some individuals. Is that true? What are the signs of gangrene, and how can it be avoided?Gangrene, which refers to t...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Making a list: holiday gift ideas for the water warrior, runner, fit foodie ...

Making a list: holiday gift ideas for the water warrior, runner, fit foodie ...

Given Santa’s legendary girth, one could justifiably question his ability to choose suitable gifts for the fitness-focused folks on his "nice" list. Dasher, Dancer and Prancer (all clearly more inclined to stay active) are always there to offer some ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

The nation’s heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earl...
Published: 11/13/17
Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.Honey Nut is America’s best-selling break...
Published: 11/11/17