It turns out that you can get a good night’s sleep without actually getting a good night’s sleep, apparently…
A study by psychology professor Kristi Erdal has argued that the amount of sleep you think you get may be more important than how much you actually get, reports the indy100.
A group of 21 students from Colorado College were given a five minute lesson on what constituted good sleep and bad sleep, and were then asked to report on how much they had slept the night before.
The students were connected to Biopac equipment, which they were told would measure their pulse, heart rate and brain frequency – but only brain frequency was actually measured.
And, surprisingly, the results showed that the students who were told they’d slept well, did better in a series of tests than those who were told they’d slept badly.
Basically, participants who were told they’d had below-average sleep quality tended to perform worse on the test – regardless of how well they had actually slept.
So, does that mean that believing you’ve slept well is enough?
Professor Erdal refers to it as ‘classical conditioning’ – a phenomenon which may also explain why another study concluded that drinking a fake coffee had a similar effect on brain function as a cup of real coffee.
As interesting as this is, it doesn’t mean you should start convincing yourself you don’t actually need to sleep.
The NHS stresses that sleep deprivation can make you prone to serious medical conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
So it’s probably best to just get your head down for some serious shut-eye.