When a patient first sits down for their return appointment, I frequently can anticipate whether their sleep improved or not. All this before they say a word. How do I know?
For years I’ve thought it was because of the way their face looks – skin tone, color, skin around the eyes, and general ‘sparkle’ in the facial expression. New research from the British Medical Journal (http://bit.ly/eWOZPc) has shown that the amount of sleep we’ve had is reflected in our face, and impacts how others see us. In this study participants were sleep deprived 31 hours then photographed. They were also photographed after a regular 8 hour night of sleep.
When untrained observers looked at the photos, the sleep deprived people were rated as less healthy, less attractive, and more tired. The authors conclude that “This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behaviour.” Think relationship success and job performance reviews.
Just another great reason to get enough hours of sleep each night, and to address any sleep problems that interfere with this.