A Moment of Science

The Downside Of Looking Sleepy

There are lots of good reasons why you should try to get more sleep.

Close up photo of greenish-blue eye

Photo: jeff_golden (flickr)

Ideally, every adult should be getting between eight and nine hours of sleep each night.

We all know what it’s like not to get enough sleep. In fact, at least 70 million Americans are chronically sleep deprived, meaning that many of us slog through our days feeling listless and groggy.

Sadder And Less Attractive

Research out of the University of Stockholm has shown that sleepy looking people are perceived as sadder and less attractive by others, which can have all sorts of negative consequences.

For example, other studies have shown that people are highly sensitive to facial cues. So if  you look sluggish and unwell from lack of sleep, the people around you may start making negative assumptions about your ability to be productive at work or handle responsibility.

On the other hand, these same visual cues can be put to good use by scientists working to develop technologies to recognize sleepiness in truck drivers, airline pilots and other transportation workers. Machines that are able to recognize sleepiness may then be able to alert the truck driver or pilot that it’s time for a rest.

Get More Sleep

Now, the obvious antidote to looking sleepy is to get more sleep. Which, for many people, is easier said than done. Sleep experts recommend keeping good sleep hygiene by going to bed around the same time every night and creating an atmosphere conducive to sleep.

In other words, if you avoid strenuous exercise just before going to bed, turn off the lights in your house and avoid watching TV or tablet, you have a better chance of having a good nights sleep.

Read More:

  • “You Look Tired” Is An Insult. Here’s A Study To Prove It (Slate)
  • Sleep Allows The Brain To Wash Out Junk (Science News)
  • Eli Magers

    I found this post really fascinating. Getting the right amount of sleep is always important to combating depression and stress, which factor greatly in people’s relationships. This is related to what I wrote about people’s sleep cycles and how it affects their performance in school and at work over at http://elimagers.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/sleep-now-school-later/

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