Beauty sleep is not a myth, according to new scientific study

well rested look

Sleeping beauty: A Swedish sleep study found that well-rested people were judged more attractive than those who were sleep deprived. Image: CC tibchris/Flickr

Beauty sleep is no myth, according to a recent sleep study conducted in Sweden. Researchers took photographs of test subjects while well-rested and while sleep-deprived. The results suggest that a good night’s rest is good for the looks and improves sexual attractiveness.

The Swedish beauty sleep study

Results of a study to determine whether the concept of beauty sleep is valid were published in the British Medical Journal on Tuesday. Swedish researchers selected 23 people for the study between the ages of 18 and 31. Each participant was photographed after getting eight hours of sleep. After getting just five hours of sleep and then being kept awake for 31 hours, they were photographed again. Researchers shuffled the photographs and showed them to 65 people who weren’t aware of whether the subjects were well-rested or sleep-deprived.

Sleep deprivation can get ugly

During the beauty sleep study those evaluating the photographs rated the sleep-deprived subjects 4 percent less attractive than the well-rested ones. Subjects in the groggy photos were also rated 6 percent less healthy and 19 percent more tired-looking. John Axelsson, PhD, the author of the study, said that 4 percent difference in attractiveness can make a significant difference in life. Getting a good night’s sleep can win a person more favorable treatment social situations.

The biology of beauty sleep

Sleep deprivation does have a biological effect, according to Donald Greenblatt, MD, of the Strong Sleep Disorders Clinic at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. Greenblatt told CNN that perspiration during sleep naturally moisturizes the skin. Lying down increases blood flow to the face and temporarily reduces the severity of wrinkles. In addition, during deep sleep the body produces higher levels of human growth hormone, which helps the body rejuvenate itself to prepare for the rigors of another busy day.



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U.S. News and World Report

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