I have talked about this before and now there is new research to keep the discussion going; both better quantity and quality sleep is an attractive feature, in everyone. A new study from researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the prestigious British Medical Journal showed that when given a choice, people thought individuals with more sleep looked attractive!

Researchers took pictures of 23 people on two separate occasions, the first time when they were sleep deprived (after being awake for 31 hours), and the second time after 8 hours of sleep. The pictures were taken under these conditions:

  • The participants were non-smokers
  • The participants had not had an alcoholic beverage in 3 days
  • Taken at the same time of day
  • With no make-up and similar hygiene measures
  • With similar hair styles (lose or pulled back if long)
  • At the same camera lens distance
  • In the same well lit room
  • And they were asked to have a neutral facial expression
Sixty-five “observers” were blinded to the condition (meaning that they did not know which occasion they were rating (sleep deprived vs. well rested) and asked to rate people on perceived health, attractiveness, and tiredness. And what do you think the results showed? People who were sleep deprived were rated as:
  1. Less Healthy looking
  2. More tired looking
  3. Less Attractive

Not surprisingly a decreased rating of looking healthy appeared to be associated with ratings of tiredness and less attractiveness.

What can you do to make this New Year one of Sleep and Health?
  • Make sure you are getting your needed rest-in most cases this is between 7-9 hours
  • If you think that you may have a sleep disorder that could be causing poor quality sleep, make a point of speaking to your doctor about seeing a sleep specialist
  • Try some sure-fire ways of increasing sleep quality:
    • Go decaf by 2:30pm
    • Exercise daily-with doctor’s permission
  • Consider creating a tranquil sleep environment
    • Could it be time for a new pillow or mattress?
  • When creating those holidays cards choose pictures of a well rested family
  • If creating a new online profile (dating or otherwise) chose those pictures wisely

We all want to look and feel our best in 2011 and all the years to come, and remember healthy sleep is a great way to help make that happen.

Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™
Twitter: @thesleepdoctor

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