You'll Perform Better If You Think You Slept Well

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

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. (Read more placebo stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.