THE SCIENCE BEHIND BEAUTY SLEEP

Today’s guest poster is Rich Coffman. Rich is a writer living on the front range of Colorado. He writes on various topics including sleep problems and sleep solutions, health, fitness, wellness and cycling. He works for Bedtime Network, an online resource of sleep tips for those who can’t sleep.

good nightBeauty sleep isn’t just a saying, there is actual scientific fact supporting the idea. A good nights sleep contributes greatly to a person’s appearance. Someone who is sleep deprived may have puffy bags under their eyes and in general, have a less radiant look about them. There is no way to avoid it – sleep is important, not only for a productive day but to look good too!

Here is what we know. Throughout the sleep cycles, there is an increase in the level of growth hormones and collagen secreted in the body. Specifically, stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycles are where this happens. The hormones and collagen act to help repair tissue and rebuild the body on a cellular level. The tissues that get acted on by these agents are the skin, bone, and muscles. Most of this tissue shows an increased level of cellular production and a reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Protein contain the elements necessary for cellular repair and growth. Cellular damage results from various factors such as UV rays from the sun and stress endured throughout the day.

It is understood that when the body is at rest during sleep, it enters into a fasting state which is linked to the increased release of growth hormones. This increased output leads to the maintenance of the collagen matrix which equates to a youthful appearance.

A study done in Sweden shows a scientific correlation between beauty and sleep. This study was led by John Axelsson from the Swedish Karolinska Institutet. His team looked into the relationship between sleep, health and the perception of attractiveness. The researchers believe this study is important in today’s 24 hour culture, stating that the number of people who suffer from sleep disorders is on the rise.

The study consisted of 23 people between the ages of 18 to 31. The subjects had their photo taken between 2pm and 3pm on two occasions. The first time was after normal sleep and the second photo was after being deprived of sleep. People who smoked were excluded from the research and no alcohol was allowed for two days prior to the experiment because both alchohol and tobacco use have an effect on the appearance of people.

The photos were taken in a room with professional lighting; the distance to the camera was fixed so the before and after photos were in the identical proximity. During both photo sessions the participating subjects wore no make-up so the skin tone would not be masked. The participants were asked to have a relaxed and neutral facial expression for both photos.

The study used 65 observers, who were did not know to the sleep status of the subjects. These observers then rated the photos. They were asked to rank the attractiveness of each subject, and decide whether the individuals looked healthy or unhealthy and tired or not tired.

At the conclusion of the study, the observer’s results judged the faces of sleep deprived subjects as less healthy, less attractive and more tired. The researchers concluded that the face of a sleep deprived person is less attractive, and looks less healthy.

So your mother was right all along; get your beauty sleep!

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2 Responses to THE SCIENCE BEHIND BEAUTY SLEEP

  1. Seaton McLeany says:

    It is so hard to get 8 solid hours of quality sleep these days! This is my goal for 2013, not for my benefit, but for the folks who see me every day :)

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