Early sunrises and “just the one” after-work beers can make it hard to get your six hours in. (Come on, who seriously ever manages eight?) But whether you’re accustomed to the perennial lack of sleep or not, try to remember that tiredness harms more than just your ability to keep your eyes open on the 7:32.
A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that tired-looking people are perceived as less intelligent than their well-restedpeers. And that makes a double espresso a key ally before a big presentation.
However, don’t go in thinking you can fool the crowd with wide eyes and big hand gestures – you’ll just look like a less intelligent man on amphetamines. Researchers identified “subtle frowning” – a downward curvature of the mouth – as a key negative marker. So what you might perceive as professional froideur or earnest focus can actually just come across as, well, a bit dim. A casual smile, on the other hand, was seen as a major sign of alertness.
Our advice? When coffee alone won’t cut it, try this: save the used grounds and apply them under your eyes (wait,wait–let them cool first) for five minutes. Caffeine constricts blood vessels below the skin’s surface to reduce puffiness. You may feel less than clever, but you’ll be ready to face the daily grind.