When you’re sleep deprived, you appear less healthy and less attractive than normal, according to a study in British Medical Journal.

To test the theory of beauty sleep, doctors in Stockholm enrolled 23 adult participants and photographed them, first after a night of eight hours of sleep and again after sleep deprivation – 31 hours of wakefulness after a night of reduced sleep.

The photos were then shown in a random order to observers who rated the photos. 65 observers rated each of the 46 photographs for factors such as:

  • Attractiveness
  • Health
  • Tiredness

The result found subtle differences, but the sleep-deprived participant photos were rated as less healthy, more tired and less attractive than the photos of them after a normal night’s sleep.

“This suggests that humans are sensitive to sleep related facial cues, with potential implications for social and clinical judgments and behavior,” conclude the authors. The study confirms the common belief in beauty sleep. It also demonstrates a link between sleep and good health, the authors report.

In between your skin care routine or cosmetic procedures, don’t overlook the little things that help you look your best, like getting plenty of rest and wearing sunscreen.

To read the full study, visit the BMJ Website