Looking to boost your dating profile? Bensons’ sleep expert Dr Sophie Bostock explains why getting enough sleep will help you do just that.
Beauty sleep is a real thing
The effects of bad night’s sleep are more visible than we think. Studies show that we rate strangers as less physically attractive and less appealing to socialise with when they’ve had a sleepless night, than when we see well-rested photos of the same person.
Facial cues of tiredness can be quite subtle and yet we can pick out a tired face in seconds – pale skin, swollen eyelids, narrower eyes, dark circles under the eyes, and a general lack of va-va-voom.
From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense – our brains instinctively look for healthy mates to help the survival of the species (not necessarily long-term compatibility) – and being sleep deprived gives off a signal that something is not quite right.
You’re not your best self when you’re tired
Whether you’re looking for a soulmate, or an entertaining night out, avoiding the sleepier end of the dating spectrum could have its advantages…
Sleep deprivation makes us less optimistic and sociable, and worse at understanding and expressing emotions. We feel more irritable, anxious and low, making it harder for us to empathise with others.
If your other half has the warmth of a wet fish, sleep deprivation could be the explanation.
Our brains rely on sleep for verbal fluency and creativity, so the conversation is more likely to stall if you or your date we're up late. In the workplace, sleep deprived leaders are rated as less charismatic than their sleep-enabled counterparts.
And you know those subtle touches which make you know someone is interested in you? Remembering your birthday, or your siblings’ names? Without sleep, short-term memory is more likely to let you down and that endearing anecdote is more likely to end in confusion, followed by an awkward silence.
So, what can you do if you have a date this week?
Step 1 – The week before
It stands to reason but protect time for sleep. This is not the week for a Netflix binge marathon. Stick to the same wake up time and sleep time, up until the big night out.
Step 2 – The night before
To banish pre-date anxiety, practice a positive imagery technique. Rather than worrying about ‘what if it all goes wrong?’,practice walking through the ideal date. Spend 10 minutes or so before you go to sleep deliberately focusing on the positives. Imagine where you’ll go, what you’ll wear, what you’ll see, how you’ll feel. Transport yourself to the ideal movie scene of your date. Even if you can’t sleep, at least you’ll get to linger in the imaginary company of your potential partner that little bit longer and it will help your confidence on the big night out.
Step 3 – Day of the date
If you really can’t sleep, don’t worry. Remind yourself that you’ve done much more important things on much less sleep. And yes, you might have slightly paler skin, and tired eyes, but if you keep a genuine smile on your face, they’re unlikely to notice. If you ever can’t sleep for more than 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy enough to get back into bed.