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Your Face Tells the Story When You’ve Had a Bad Night’s Sleep

Your Face Tells the Story When You've Had a Bad Night's SleepHumans can detect facial emotions well and use this skill to judge trustworthiness, aggressiveness and competence.

New research shows that sleep deprivation affects facial features such as the eyes, mouth and skin, and these features function as cues of sleep loss to other people.

Researchers discovered that the faces of sleep-deprived individuals were perceived as having more hanging eyelids, redder eyes, more swollen eyes and darker circles under the eyes.

Sleep deprivation also was associated with paler skin, more wrinkles or fine lines, and more droopy corners of the mouth.

People also looked sadder when sleep-deprived than after normal sleep, and sadness was related to looking fatigued.

“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,” said Tina Sundelin, the lead author and a doctoral student in the department of psychology at Stockholm University.

“This is relevant not only for private social interactions, but also official ones such as with health care professionals and in public safety.”

The study, which appears in the journal Sleep, was conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Researchers photographed 10 subjects on two separate occasions: after eight hours of normal sleep and after 31 hours of sleep deprivation.

The photographs were taken in the laboratory at 2:30 p.m. on both occasions. Forty participants rated the 20 facial photographs with respect to 10 facial cues, fatigue and sadness.

According to the authors, face perception involves a specialized neuronal network and is one of the most developed visual perceptual skills in humans.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Your Face Tells the Story When You’ve Had a Bad Night’s Sleep

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Your Face Tells the Story When You’ve Had a Bad Night’s Sleep. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/09/03/your-face-tells-the-story-when-youve-had-a-bad-nights-sleep/59143.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.