If you have read some of the other articles on this website, you’ll know how vitally important sleep is for physical, mental and emotional health. Yet one of the most widely held beliefs about the importance of sleep has remained practically unstudied.
I’m referring to the concept of beauty sleep. We all know intuitively that we need sleep to look our best. But research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has actually proved that beauty sleep exists.
In the experiment, ten subjects were photographed on two separate occasions: first after eight hours of normal sleep and then after 31 hours of sleep deprivation. The photographs were then rated by forty participants for specific facial cues, along with signs of fatigue and sadness.
The sleep-deprived subjects were judged to have heavy eyelids and red, swollen eyes surrounded by dark circles. Sleep deprivation was also associated with pale skin, wrinkles and drooping around the mouth. People also looked sadder when deprived of sleep.
To sum up, sleeping well doesn’t only make you feel good, it makes you look good too. So before you spend a fortune on the latest miracle cream, remember that the most important item to have in your makeup bag is a good night’s sleep!
Dr. Neil Stanley
Dr Neil Stanley is an independent sleep expert who has been involved in research for over 35 years. After starting out at the R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine, he moved on to the University of Surrey's Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit, where he was Director of Sleep Research. Today, he travels the world lecturing on various aspects of sleep to both healthcare professionals and the public at large.