Sleepy Socializers

Wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying – I hope not!

A bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling grumpy and irritable. Why??

Enter Lieve van Egmond and colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Using eye-tracking technology, they measured how sleep-deprived and well-rested adults respond to different facial expressions. Some participants were allowed 8 hours of sleep, while others weren’t allowed any. Then, everyone viewed pictures of happy, fearful, angry, and neutral faces. They rated each face’s attractiveness, healthiness, and trustworthiness. 

Results? The sleep-deprived participants spent less time looking at the faces and had more negative responses. By comparison, rested individuals viewed faces as more attractive and trustworthy. Both groups rated healthiness about the same.

Social cues help us communicate with others. The researchers believe a lack of sleep may make us miss these cues, or misinterpret them! 

So it’s not you, it’s me. Well, actually it’s my snoring partner. Whom, if I were you, I wouldn’t trust to make the morning coffee, right? Yawn!

Reference: van Egmond, L. T., Meth, E. M., Bukhari, S., Engström, J., Ilemosoglou, M., Keller, J. A., … Benedict, C. (2022). How Sleep-Deprived People See and Evaluate Others’ Faces: An Experimental Study. Nature and Science of Sleep, 14, 867–876.