Sleep deprivation doesn’t just hinder our ability to focus at work and put us at higher risk of anxiety and depression, it also affects our appearance.
New research reveals women who have under the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night are likely to have more wrinkles, spots and open pores than they would if they hit the hay early.
A group of 30 women across the UK – including supermodel Jodie Kidd – had their photos taken and their skin analysed following a night of sleeping for the recommended eight hours as part an experiment conducted by Bensons for Beds.
Participants were then asked to sleep for just six hours for the next five nights, before having tests carried out again.
The left picture shows Jodie Kidd after eight hours of sleep. The right picture shows her after sleeping for six hours for five nights.
On average, participants’ fine lines and wrinkles increased in number by a 45% after they’d skipped sleep.
Spots also increased by 13% in number and by 7% in visibility, while red areas on the skin increased by 8% and became 5% more visible.
“As a busy working mother, it is quite common that I don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours sleep per night,” Kidd commented after seeing her photos.
“I have never really thought about how this might affect my skin as I have so many other priorities at the moment.
“I sometimes wear a lot of makeup on shoots so need to invest in my skincare routine. Having seen the really quite significant effects of just five nights of six hours sleep, I realise that rest is an important part of it.”
The pictures below show how some of the other women fared during the experiment.
In each, the photo on the left shows the participant after eight hours of sleep and the photo on the right shows them after having just six hours of sleep for five nights.
The women were also asked to fill out questionnaires about their feelings before and after they had experienced sleep deprivation.
On average, they reported a 20% decline in self-esteem over the course of the study with participants saying they felt 33% less attractive at the end of the test.
“Sleep deprivation is endemic in British society, with almost half of UK people regularly sleeping for 25% less than the recommended seven to eight hours,” Dr Guy Meadows, founder of The Sleep School commented.
“As the results of this study show, not only does this have serious effects on mood, cognitive ability and concentration, but also on appearance and self-esteem.
“Sleep is a time for the body to heal, renew and eliminate toxins from the skin. When sleep is reduced, so is the body’s ability to carry out these functions.
“The study showed significant results over a period of just five days, yet the reality is many people are sleeping in this manner for weeks, months and even years, leading to long term consequences for their looks and how they feel about themselves.”
With women in the UK spending £8.9 billion pounds per year on beauty and skincare products, it looks like a more most effective and cost-efficient method to looking after your skin and wellbeing could just be sleep.