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Feeling lonely? A lack of sleep could be to blame

If you’ve ever scoffed at the thought of beauty sleep, we’ve got some bad news for you. According to the latest studies to come out of Sweden and the U.K., a lack of sleep means people find you less attractive, which can end up resulting in loneliness.

Just how much sleep is not enough? According to the Swedish study, conducted by the University of Stockholm, four hours sleep is enough to show visible signs of tiredness.

Volunteers were instructed to get a solid two nights’ sleep consecutively, and then the week after, have two nights of surviving on four hours of sleep. After both sleeps, makeup-free photos were taken of participants and then shown to strangers (both men and women) to rate them on their health, sleepiness and attractiveness.

The results revealed that your face is the biggest giveaway when it comes to a lack of sleep, with dark circles under eyes and swollen eyelids a major sign of a sleepless night.

Even worse, the research indicated a lack of sleep won’t just affect your ‘attractiveness’, but also your general likeability. A study published in the Journal of Psychological Medicine took a deeper look into the reported and perceived loneliness of 2,200 young adults. In it, loneliness was assessed via four questions: How often do you feel that you lack companionship?; How often do you feel left out?; How often do you feel isolated from others? and finally; How often do you feel alone?

The study found that 25-30 percent of people reported feelings of loneliness, with researchers finding a “modest but robust” connection between loneliness and lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can contribute to a range of other health and social problems, including; anxiety, weight gain and reduction in your ability to memorise.

When you add the pieces together, it’s quite clear why a lack of shut-eye could be to blame for your loneliness. When you’re tired, you’re less likely to make time for friends and family, which directly contributes to your lonely life. Your low energy levels, negative mindset and loss of motivation will leave you reeling for human contact, but all you’ll want to do is go to bed instead.

The good news? Researchers also found that a few things that can help to mask the symptoms of tiredness, but shouldn’t be relied upon constantly. These included coffee (which is known for stimulation) and smiling – who knew that a simple smile could hide those bags!

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