The Beauty of Sleep
Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora who is put under a spell by the cruel witch Maleficent, cursing her to die on her 16th birthday.
Luckily, under the watchful eye of her guardian fairies, she only succumbs to a deep sleep. We then learn that the princess can be woken from this eternal slumber by a kiss from her betrothed, Prince Philip. Fortunately, the story ends happily with her hero doing exactly that.
Apart from being a popular fairytale, it seems that there is some truth to this story after all. ‘Beauty sleep’, it turns out, is really a thing.
The work of scientists has revealed a clear connection between attractiveness and the quality of sleep we receive.
Researchers have shown that people who miss out on sleep appear less attractive to others. In fact, just a couple of bad nights can be enough for others to rate them significantly more ugly.
Why is this?
It is likely to do with the association between attractiveness and health. We desire a healthy looking partner because it infers good quality genetics i.e. healthy genes.
During sleep, the body gives itself a natural makeover during as it’s the time the body enters a period of rest and recovery. This extends to all cells in the body including those most outwardly visible in the skin.
Skip sleep and you’ll miss out on these five beauty benefits of a good night’s rest:
1. A glowing complexion
The body boosts blood flow to the skin whilst asleep, which means you wake up with a healthy glow. Skimp on sleep and your complexion can look grey and lifeless.
2. Fewer wrinkles
Skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which prevents sagging. More collagen means skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle. Getting just five hours a night can lead to twice as many lines as sleeping seven would. It also leaves skin drier, which can make lines more visible.
3. Less puffy eyes
Ever had dark circles or bags under your eyes after a restless night? More shut-eye and you'll have less puffiness under your eyes. Sleep can also minimise dark circles. When blood isn’t flowing properly (which happens when you’re low on sleep), it collects under the eyes and becomes visible, since the skin there is so thin.
4. Happier appearance
Being short on sleep can cause your facial expressions change in subtle and consistent ways. We tend to furrow and frown more. This makes you less approachable and can lead to loneliness and social withdrawal.
5. Healthier hair
Hair loss, damage, and even growth can all be affected by lack of sleep. Hair follicles gain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from blood flow. Since blood flow decreases when we’re short on shut-eye, hair weakens and it has difficulty growing.
Rather than spending money on expensive beauty products it seems the most effective thing you can do is to get a good night’s sleep.