Swedish scientists have confirmed what women for years have believed about so-called “beauty rest”.  So the best advice that is, the more rested you are the better you look. 

This study used 23 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 31.  The participants were photographed two different times with no makeup and a neutral expression (not smiling or frowning).  The first time they were photographed they had slept for 8 hours.  The second photos were taken after they had slept for only 5 hours and were then kept up for 31 hours.

The photos were then judged by sixty-five people who had not been told anything about the study.  They merely judged the photos using three criteria—how healthy, attractive and rested the people looked in each photo.   All of the unrested photos scored low for all three criteria. 

So, what does this mean for you?  It means that lack of sleep shows immediately on your face and it may affect how people react to you.  Whether we like or not humans judge one another on appearances.  Getting enough sleep to feel rested can help you in many areas of your life from getting a mate to getting a job.  Even doctors make subjective determinations about patients based on how they look. 

Your mother was right!  You need your rest.  So, how much is enough?  It varies depending on the person.  Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that in 3% of the population there is a gene that makes 6 hours of sleep per night adequate.   However, that leaves 97% of the population needing more than 6 hours. 

According to the National Institute of Health adults over the age of 18 need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  This is an important factor in senior wellness. Children and teenagers need between 8.5 and 14 hours per night.  The younger the child the more sleep they need. 

Most adults (even some kids) are not getting close to the recommendations and are continually are sleep deprived, but don’t realize it.  This is because sleep deprivation is believed to cause you to feel exhausted throughout the day.  This is only true of prolonged sleep deprivation, but losing one or two hours each night is not as easily pinpointed. 

So, how do you know if you are not getting enough sleep?  You may be sleep deprived if you:

  • Need an alarm to wake you up every day.
  • Hit the snooze button often during the week and have a hard time getting out of bed.
  • Feel sleepy mid-day or feel drowsy/fall asleep during lectures, meeting or in warm rooms.
  • Get drowsy after a big meal or when driving.
  • Fall asleep in the evening when relaxing.
  • Fall asleep within 5 minutes of going to bed.

In our “go-go” society the lack of sleep has become a badge of honor, but it can have long-term affects on your health.  Over time sleep deprivation can cause you to gain weight, reduce your immune system and limit your mental acuity.  This can lead to conditions, such as diabetes, heart conditions and depression.  Staying up late on the computer to get more done or making sure to watch the latest TV show can put you at risk for many diseases.  So, do as your mother told you….get your rest.  You’ll feel better and look better!