Why looking tired could kill your social appeal

GETTYPeople believe that tired individuals are at a higher risk of accidents and more likely to be ill

These changes alter our perception of attractiveness, intelligence and health, according to the study, suggesting beauty sleep could be a real thing.

For the study, researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University recruited 25 healthy students, aged 18 to 47 (although most were in their early 20s).

The researchers then showed these photos to 122 strangers and asked them to rate the people in the photos in terms of attractiveness, sleepiness, trustworthiness, health, and how approachable they were. The strangers also said they would be less likely to socialise with the sleepy participants because they looked unhealthy. "A 2013 study indicated that sleep-deprived people look a bit more sad, so smiling more may further counteract the effects of looking exhausted". However, researchers tell people they shouldn't worry too much about this.

"A healthy, attractive face is characterized by a certain degree of redness, which in turn is indicative of increased vasodilation and vascularization", they write.

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Sundelin and colleagues speculate that the effect of sleep deprivation on skin blood coloration may partly explain why poorly rested adults were rated less attractive and healthy. It can even put people off socialising with you, reports the BBC.

Findings published on Wednesday indicated people are less likely to avoid eye contact with those who show signs of sleep deprivation.

Furthermore, the study found that people's willingness to socialize with sleep-deprived people was only 2.1 percent less than their willingness to do so with fully rested people. "Most people can cope just fine if they miss out on a bit of sleep now and again".

The team, lead by Dr Tina Sundelin, found that strangers were good at assessing how exhausted a person was, and that they rated the sleepy set of photographs as less attractive than the photos of the same people when they were well-rested. Because we've evolved to try to avoid diseases, seeing an unhealthy-looking face makes us want to avoid that person. 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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