Date: September 29, 2013We all know that having a good night’s sleep is better than only having a couple of hours of shuteye. We wake up feeling energized, more alert and focused, and less cranky. Basically, when we’re not sleepy the whole day, we feel better and happier. Sleeping well also has plenty of health benefits, and positive physiological and psychological effects.
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine adds a notch to the long list of benefits. According to the research, not getting enough sleep reduces and may even undo the effects of dieting. Enough sleep is defined as seven hours per night.
In the study, subjects were put on a specific diet and sleep schedules. Those who had adequate sleep were found to have lost twice as much fat as those who were tasked to sleep less. Further, the latter reported feeling hungrier and less satisfied after meals, which were controlled to be constant among all subjects. They also had less energy to exercise than the group that had better sleeping habits.
Meanwhile, a separate study, published in Sleep journal, looked into the negative effects of sleep deprivation on physical appearances and, consequently, social interactions.
“Since faces contain a lot of information on which humans base their interactions with each other, how fatigued a person appears may affect how others behave toward them,” explained Stockholm University researcher Tina Sundelin.
Sundelin’s team took photographs of 10 people on two occasions—after “normal sleep” and after “31 hours of sleep deprivation following a night with five hours of sleep.” The pictures were then showed to 40 individuals, who were asked to rate the images based on several facial cues, and appearance of fatigue and sadness.
The sleep-deprived faces were observed to be punctuated by “more hanging eyelids, redder eyes, darker circles under the eyes, paler skin, more wrinkles/fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth.” What’s more, they were perceived by the observation participants to look sadder and more fatigued.
“The results show that sleep deprivation affects features relating to the eyes, mouth and skin, and that these features function as cues of sleep loss to other people. Because these facial regions are important in the communication between humans, facial cues of sleep deprivation and fatigue may carry social consequences for the sleep deprived individual in everyday life,” the study concluded.