You'll Perform Better If You Think You Slept Well
Sleep is subject to the placebo effect: study
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2014 9:42 AM CST
Sleep quality is subject to the placebo effect.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Got a big day ahead? You're better off thinking you slept well, even if you didn't, a study suggests. Researchers told subjects a normal night of sleep consisted of about 20% to 25% REM sleep. Less than 20%, the subjects heard, meant a worse performance on cognitive tests, while more than 25% meant scoring well on such tests, the Telegraph reports. Researchers duped these subjects into believing that sensors attached to their bodies were tracking their sleep quality.

After a night's sleep, some subjects were told they spent 16.2% of the night in REM sleep, while others were informed they'd spent 28.7% of the night in REM. That was all made up, the Smithsonian reports. Next, the subjects took tests involving adding numbers. Subjects who'd been told they'd slept poorly did worse on the tests, reports blogger Eric Horowitz. Those who heard they slept well did better, the Independent reports. In other words, the subjects experienced a "placebo sleep" effect. Indeed, the effect isn't limited to pills: We can get placebo exercise, too, the Smithsonian notes.

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
Jan 26, 2014 9:23 PM CST
How is it news? Humans are the best self deceptors out there. Optimism is a delusional mindset but it is very useful.
False Dichotomy
Jan 26, 2014 4:11 PM CST
It's almost as if the mind has a mind of its own...
Jan 26, 2014 1:24 PM CST
I have sleep apnea and my compliance on CPAP has always been poor. A day that I think I slept well is so remarkable that I remember there being only one such occasion in my entire life. I like to think I am not subject to suggestion. But, if I am mistaken I might be the last to know.