You’ve probably heard the age-old expression, “you need your beauty sleep.” But can a good night of sleep really make you more beautiful?
At OSIN, we are all about improving sleep quality. But to be clear: we are not trying to sell sleep as a beauty product. Regardless of whether it changes your appearance, sleep is essential for health and wellbeing.
What even is beauty?
Whether sleep makes you better looking depends on how you define beauty, which varies between cultures and individual preferences. Although some aspects of beauty may be rooted in our biology, and therefore, are bound to transcend these differences.
What does the science say?
According to a research paper published in the royal society for open science in 2017, quality sleep has the power to make you look more sociable and attractive. The research team photographed 25 participants following two days of eight hours of sleep, and then again following two days of sleep restricted to only four hours. The second group of 122 participants was asked to rate these images on a seven-point scale on the following axis: sociability (How much would you like to socialise with this person?), attractiveness, health?), sleepiness, and trustworthiness. The results are below:
The participants wore no make-up, minimal jewellery, the same dark grey T-shirts and hair pulled back, to control for other factors in their appearance. Despite this, the second group consistently rated those who had eight hours sleep as more attractive, healthier and less sociable.
How does sleep improve your appearance?
While you sleep, your body repairs itself: Your blood pressure drops, and a shot of growth hormone helps your muscles come back bigger and stronger. Toxins which build up in the brain during the day are cleaned. These processes have many flow-on health effects, as well as improving your appearance in four key ways: (1) reducing wrinkles, (2) improving complexion, (3) less puffy eyes and finally (4) a happier appearance.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. Collagen gives structure to our skin, reducing sagging and preventing wrinkles. In recent years, collagen has become a popular dietary supplement; however, while we sleep, our body releases growth hormone which boosts natural collagen production. According to WebMD, sleeping 5 hours can lead to twice as many fine-lines and wrinkles as sleeping 7 hours would.
While you sleep, your body increases blood flow to the skin, which gives it that natural glow. By contrast, sleep deprivation reduces blood-flow, causing your skin to appear dull and lifeless. Moreover, sleep can help combat stress-related acne. When you maintain a healthy sleep routine, your body’s levels of cortisol become more balanced, reducing the chance of breakouts.
Reduce swelling around the eyes
A study which set to identify the ways in which sleep deprivation makes us appear less attractive identified “hanging eyelids, red and swollen eyes, and dark under eye circles” as the characteristics most commonly associated with fatigue: all of which can be reduced by healthy sleep habits.
While sleep deprivation has been linked to depression, we are focusing solely on changes in the way you look. When fatigued, the corners of the mouth begin to droop, which can make you look sadder than you otherwise would following a good night of rest.
The science indicates that there is wisdom in the age-old concept of ‘beauty sleep’. Whilst we hope that ‘looking good’ isn’t the only reason that motivates you to invest in your sleep, it serves as a reminder that the effects of sleep quality touch almost every aspect of our wellbeing.
According to an article from Stuff, women spends over $20,000 on beauty products over her lifetime, on average. Increasingly, men are also spending big on their beauty products. Some portion of that is, undoubtedly, used to mask the effects of poor sleep. Thankfully, prioritising sleep is a natural and completely free way to increase your attractiveness while simultaneously improving your overall health.
Want to improve your sleep quality? Learn more here.