Not enough sleep? People's faces will look different

A new study has found that sleep deprivation affects the way we see others.

Cc Lee
25th May 2022
Credits: Canva
Students from USA Uppsala University in Sweden conducted a study to see how sleep deprivation affects the way people see others. By using eye-tracking sensors they were able to identify specific emotional reactions that the participants had towards other people.

Researchers conducted the study on forty-five men and women. They were tested after having an eight hour night of sleep, and subsequently a night with no sleep at all.

Using eye-tracking sensor technology, they studied the movements of the eye after each night. They found that after no sleep, the volunteers spent less time fixating on people's faces. This was the opposite when they had had eight hours of sleep.

When the test subjects had no sleep they also registered people's faces differently. They avoided people's faces that looked angry or unhealthy. They related these faces with being untrustworthy. When they saw someone that appeared fearful they acknowledged how they were less attractive.

From these results, the researchers concluded that a lack of sleep could result in people not interacting with others in a positive way. Which potentially could lead to isolation. Whilst the results seem conclusive, it is not possible to generalise the lack of sleep over different age groups. The research was conducted on adults, so the results may differ if conducted on children or teenagers. Moreover, it's not possible to say whether the results would be the same for those who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation.

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