Sleep deprivation impairs facial appearance

Lack of shut eye is known to take on toll on health. But according to a new study, sleep deprivation also affect one’s facial features.

According to the findings of a new study, people who have trouble getting a sound night sleep are more likely to have an impaired facial appearance, including features involving the eyes, mouth and skin.

Such people, researchers say, have dropping eyelids, more wrinkles, redder and swollen eyes, darkened areas under the eyes as compared to the well-rested counterparts. Sleep deprived people also look sadder, the researchers said.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, recruited 10 people. The study subjects were photographed during two separate sleep occasions – the first after eight hours of normal sleep and the second after 31 hours of sleep deprivation.

The captured images were taken to a laboratory at 2:30 pm on both occasions.

These 20 facial images were then rated by 40 participants with respect to 10 facial cues, including fatigue and sadness.

The researchers found that face perception involved neuronal workings that developed visual perceptions through human skins. The team observed that facial appearances affected judgments regarding attributes that involve aggressiveness, competence, and trustworthiness.

“Since faces contain a lot of information on which humans base their interactions with each other, how fatigued a person appears may affect how others behave toward them. This is relevant not only for private social interactions, but also official ones such as with health care professionals and in public safety,” Tina Sundelin, lead author and doctoral student in the department of psychology at Stockholm University in Sweden said.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Sleep.

In a separate study conducted by researchers at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, sleep deprived people show “increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as ultraviolet radiation,” the researchers said.