I have a friend who wants to get her chin tucked — a couple of them anyway. I stumbled across an article the other day linking double chins and snoring, so I went out on a search for all the ways insomnia might result in physical characteristics many people in the West would not associate with “beauty.”

I haven’t yet found again the article on thick necks and sleep apnea. I’ve found several that say people with thick necks (which would mostly be men) often snore, because as they age the ability of their muscles to keep their throat’s soft tissue from collapsing on itself during sleep is reduced. I’ve not yet read enough to find out whether snoring can also cause a think neck. Of course, snoring is not necessarily a sleep disorder, not does it necessarily accompany insomnia. To be a disorder, the person has to miss breaths. To be insomnia, the person has to be awake—which you wish they would do when they start snoring!

Obesity — There’s one that gets attention. It’s fairly well understood hormones affect sleep. For example, women progressing through menopause may experience great periods of insomnia because of the changes in their estrogen levels. After menopause, their progesterone is higher in proportion to estrogen than previously, and that’s the time many women begin to snore. They also begin to gain weight. And get thicker necks. While there are several causes for that, here’s one you may not have heard of.

Two hormones–leptin and ghrelin—may significantly affect how much we eat. One of them, leptin, tells us when we’re full: stop eating, you’re satisfied. The other one, ghrelin (which I like to call gremlin) stimulates appetite. When we miss sleep, for whatever reason, leptin (stop eating) falls while ghrelin (you’re starving) increases. Consequently, you feel hungry, unsatisfied and still munching. The ultimate result is weight gain.

This is why almost all men are thicker and have thick necks as they reach middle age and beyond. They snore; therefore, they gain weight. (It isn’t the snoring itself; it’s the “not sleeping soundly” when you’re snoring.)

This affects aging in the reverse. Older people don’t get enough really deep sleep (REM). Therefore, their hormonal systems aren’t restored and reset. They feel satisfied and not hungry. Malnutrition is a huge problem among the elderly and it begins with not getting good quality sleep!

Diabetes — OK, being diabetic may not make you ugly, but if you’re single and dating, it could raise a caution flag! Inadequate sleep can prevent the proper processing of glucose, causing high blood sugar levels. Looping back to the weight problem, excess glucose is then stored as fat, and in some people’s minds, that makes you ugly.

Stupidity — Can you just not pull up a name you know? Can’t bring it to mind? Or you say something to a colleague and it sounds like you’re drunk or on allergy medication? There are significant mental effects to sleep deprivation, including slurred speech, inabilities to problem solve, speak coherently or learn something new. In extreme instances, a person can experience hallucinations or go mad. (Remember, keeping people from sleeping and dreaming is a typical torture technique; this is why. And even if you can still function, you might be torturing your comrades!)

Emotional wreck — I may be stretching physical side effects of insomnia to include emotions, but this is one more thing that make you less attractive to others. Did you know sleep deprivation has been linked as one of the primary contributors to road rage? In other words, if you signal to a driver of a car weaving across the line ahead of you, he might pull beside you and shoot you because he’s sleepy—the same reason he was weaving!

This could also be an indicator in the glass-half-full-half-empty set. Sleep deprived people are more pessimistic. (Watch for doom and gloom amongst the thick neck set. Maybe this is why people think dads are realists and moms are optimists!)

Skin — Skin is refreshed and renewed during sleep. Did you know skin is an organ? The largest organ in the body. Without adequate sleep, your skin will look older and drier. “Beauty sleep” is called that for a reason. It gives the face (and whole body) time to relax, to let go of wrinkles. Like good sex, adequate sleep can help you emerge fresh and glowing.

If these don’t convince you you’re ugly when you don’t get enough sleep, think about how ugly you feel when you’re tired and how ugly all the rest of the world looks to you.

Now relax, and get some sleep.

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