dglobalnews.com Not Sleeping Well? People May Avoid You
Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Medical | By Benjamin Edwards

Not Sleeping Well? People May Avoid You

Not Sleeping Well? People May Avoid You

Two consecutive nights of restricted sleep could be enough to make someone appear less attractive to others, as well as making people less interested in hanging out with them, according to a joint study from New York University and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Researchers then showed the photos to 122 strangers, and asked them to answer a number of questions, varying from "How much would you like to socialize with this person in the picture?" to "How trustworthy is this person?"

Not only were participants rated as less attractive and healthy following sleep restriction than when they were well rested, but the raters also reported a reduced willingness to socialize with adults who looked sleep-deprived. "An unhealthy-looking face, whether due to sleep deprivation or otherwise, might activate disease-avoiding mechanisms in others", they wrote. Not only that, but when people were exhausted, they were rated as less attractive and less healthy than when they were well rested.

The results revealed that the strangers perceived those who lacked sleep as less healthy and less attractive.

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"If someone looks less healthy, you are more likely to withdraw from them", Tina Sundelin, the study's lead researcher, told The Guardian.

That's potentially a problem for a lot of people: According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults over the age of 18 need a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night - and many don't get that. Or, she adds, it could also be that we tend to assume that people who look exhausted aren't going to be in the mood for socializing. The data also demonstrated that they were also less willing to socialise with those who had not slept well. Perhaps when we don't get enough sleep, that results in restricted blood flow to the skin, which in turn would make us look more pale and exhausted.

As for trustworthiness, the respondents displayed no difference in attitude, the study noted. "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again".

"If someone looks exhausted, they look less interested in being with you and as if they would rather be asleep or alone", he said. If you're struggling to get enough sleep, she recommends stopping work on your phone or computer an hour before bed, keeping your bedroom just for sleeping, and trying to have regular sleep hours.

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