Is it possible to decrease the effects of sleep deprivation by simply believing you are well-rested? A new study suggests that the placebo effect of thinking you had a great night of sleep can improve your cognitive abilities.
Researchers at Colorado College included 164 students in a study, telling were them that a new technique would be used to measure their sleep patterns from the night before. The students had no idea that this new technique did not exist.
The participants were then randomly split into a “below average” sleep quality group and an “above average” sleep quality group. They were also given a brief talk about sleep quality and how important it is for their cognitive performance. The participants in “below average” sleep quality group were told they had only spent 16.2% of their sleep time in REM sleep, while those in the “above average” group were told they spent 28.7% of sleep time in REM.
The results showed that the students who were told they slept well, even if they didn’t, performed better on memory and attention tests, compared to those who were told they slept poorly.
Although the study is interesting, it is still recommended that adults sleep 7-9 hours a night for better short term and long term health. By being prepared for your day with quality sleep the night before, you never have to pretend to see real results!