Why Do We Need Sleep?

March 12, 2015 12:28 PM

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Sleeping beauty had this one right: regular shuteye alone actually makes you look prettier, according to a 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal. The researchers took photos of 23 people after a normal night's sleep of eight hours and after a period of sleep deprivation. Then, a group of 65 people rated each set of photos for perceived health, attractiveness and tiredness. The sleep deprived group scored lower in all three categories. "We propose that sleep is a cheap and effective beauty treatment, both acutely and in the long-term," John Axelsson, lead researcher on the study, told NBC News. "Sleep should be seen as the body's natural beauty treatment and a clear alternative or complement to other beauty treatments." Sleep can also actually help to keep your skin in top condition. Over the long term, sleep deprivation can cause increased stress-related aging, a decreased ability to stay hydrated and a decreased ability to fight off environmental pollutants, writes Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D. on DoctorOz.com. "The most important thing you can do for your skin may be getting a great night's sleep," dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad told the Los Angeles Times.

Both experts and scientific data have long connected lack of sleep with increased hunger and weight gain -- and now a recent study has quantified the phenomenon. The findings, presented last month at an American Heart Association meeting, suggest that otherwise healthy people may eat more than 500 a...

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