Psychologists say that beauty sleep makes people more appealing to interact with. Meanwhile, not getting enough sleep makes people look tired, and thus less socially appealing.
Unless you don't have much going on in your life, you've probably had insufficient sleep now and then. A study has found that two consecutive nights of insufficient sleep can take a toll not only on your health and appearance, but also on your social life. People are less likely to “bother” or interact with someone who seems to be tired. After all, sleep deprivation can make you more irritable, less empathetic, and less sociable. Because most other people have experienced what it's like to lack sleep, they tend to stay away from people who obviously haven't slept well.
To study the effects of sleep deprivation on socialization, researchers gathered 25 participants who voluntarily limited their sleep. Researchers took photos of the participants twice—once after two consecutive nights of enough sleep, and once after two consecutive nights of poor sleep. The participants had to pull their hair back, wear a gray T-shirt, and be makeup-free for both photos.
After this, the researchers showed the photos to another group of 122 volunteers called “raters”. These volunteers rated the first group of participants on attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness. Raters also had to rate how much they would want to socialize with the participants in the first group.
The researchers thus found how beauty sleep—or the lack of it—can affect socialization. Based on the ratings of the second group of volunteers, the researchers were able to ascertain that people were less likely to want to socialize with people who looked tired. The raters still found people to be trustworthy no matter how tired they looked. However, if you looked tired, sleepy, and less attractive, people were less likely to want to interact with you.
The study also found that the number of hours of sleep doesn't really matter. What matters is your appearance. If you looked alert, people were still likely to want to socialize with you. Looking tired and sleepy is what puts people off.
Of course, the lack of beauty sleep isn't the end-all be-all of your social life, at least for the day. Researchers say that looking tired isn't going to turn you into a pariah. It's just that people will be less inclined to socialize with you. Also, there are some lucky people who don't look much worse even after two consecutive nights of poor sleep.
If you're not one of these lucky people, however, there are a few things you can do to compensate. The researchers say that you can drink coffee and put on makeup to look less tired. Smiling is also a good way to counteract the effects of tiredness on your appearance.
Thus, sleep deprivation isn't the death of your social life. In any case, however, making beauty sleep a priority isn't a bad idea. Not only do you look better, but you'll actually be healthier as well.
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