As if there already weren’t enough unpleasant consequences associated with skimping on sleep — grogginess, impaired immune system, decline in human growth hormone production, disturbed genes, weight gain and increased risk of certain diseases — a new study has found that sleep deprivation negatively affects the appearance of facial features including the eyes, mouth and skin. This effect, the study showed, can impact how trustworthy and competent a person is perceived to be by others.
The September issue of the journal Sleep describes a study performed at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden in which 10 people were photographed twice — once after eight hours of sleep and once after 31 hours without sleep. Forty observers then rated the photographs according to perceived levels of fatigue and sadness.
Some of the findings will be familiar to a tired person who has spent any time looking in the mirror. For example, the authors found that when sleep-deprived, a person’s eyes appear more red and puffy, and their eyelids appear droopier. Additionally, a fatigued person appears to have paler skin, more wrinkles or fine lines, and more drooping in the corners of the mouth.
“Because these facial regions are important in the communication between humans, facial cues of sleep deprivation and fatigue may carry social consequences for the sleep deprived individual in everyday life,” according to the report.
The solution, of course, is a simple one: Get more shut-eye.
Three new workout DVDs combine mat exercises with low-impact cardio, promising a fitter you in the comfort of your living room.
“Ballet Beautiful: Cardio Fat Burn” is a five-part routine by trainer Mary Helen Bowers, who boasts a celeb clientele including Natalie Portman, who worked with Bowers to prepare for her role in “Black Swan.”
The workout claims to sculpt “sleek ballet muscles while revving the metabolism.” It includes a warm-up followed by segments targeting the abs, arms and back, and inner thighs. The DVD, which is also available on iTunes, concludes with a full-body cardio workout and light stretching.
Another recent fitness release is “10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training” by trainer Lisa Kinder. The DVD features five 10-minute workouts that target the abs, arms and legs with movements including bear crawls and walking planks.
“Fit Mommy-to-Be Prenatal Yoga” by yoga instructor Hilaria Baldwin is an hour-long DVD with three workouts aimed at pregnant women. The workouts claim to help relieve pregnancy-related back pain, improve posture, open the hips and release stress and tension.
Baldwin’s program includes modifications for each trimester and a “bonus” segment: partner stretches featuring her husband, actor Alec Baldwin.