Can the Placebo Effect Your Night’s Rest?
A bad night’s rest can ruin the next day. Not only does your body feel sluggish if you don’t get enough sleep, but you may also feel like your brain needs an extra dose of caffeine just to get through your morning. While scientists once believed that this mental sluggishness was the result of your brain’s lack of rest, there’s also research to suggest that your brain function is tied to how you perceive your sleep quality.
Understanding the Placebo Sleep Effect
You probably already know how the placebo effect works: You believe that you’re getting treatment, so your body reacts positively even when the treatment is ineffective. Scientists believe that the brain reacts a similar way to sleep.
When you believe that you’ve gotten a poor night’s rest, your brain reacts sluggishly. However, if you believe that you’ve gotten enough sleep, your brain function won’t be affected, even if you actually had a poor night’s rest. You’ll function just as well as the people who actually got a good night’s rest. Conversely, even if you slept fine, if you believe you slept poorly, your brain won’t function as well as it should.
The Effects of Positive Thinking on Sleep
If how you view your sleep quality affects how you subsequently function, it’s reasonable to believe that positive thinking could help you get through your day. The study also suggests that if you regularly get good rest, you shouldn’t worry about one bad night of sleep. Your brain should be able to cope with the odd late night just fine.
Negative thinking can also torpedo your night’s rest. If you worry that you’re not going to get enough sleep, it can actually compound insomnia. A better approach is to realize that sleepless nights happen occasionally, and they won’t affect you much the next day.
Long-Term Sleep Loss and Your Health
While there’s evidence that losing a single night’s rest can be overcome by the sleep placebo effect, the effects of long-term sleep loss are more complicated. Scientific American notes that sleep allows the brain to clear itself of waste while improving memory and learning. The amount of sleep you get also affects your mood, appetite and libido. Animal-based studies have found that depriving the brain of REM sleep, or sleep in general, is associated with drastically shorter lifespans.
So, to enjoy the best possible mental and physical performance, promoting good sleep is essential. To ensure a better night’s rest, practice good sleep hygiene by following a regular sleep schedule, creating a nightly routine, and not using your phone or watching television before bed. The Mayo Clinic also suggests making your bedroom more restful by investing in a comfortable mattress and comfortable pillows. Adding blackout shades, wearing earplugs and running a fan can also help you create a more comfortable sleeping environment.
If a bad mattress is affecting your sleep, don’t rely on the sleep placebo effect to remedy a longstanding problem. Instead, make a commitment to your future health, and purchase a supportive and comfortable mattress that encourages better sleep each and every night. Not only will your body feel the difference, but your mind will also rest easy knowing you’re sure to have a better night’s rest. To find your perfect mattress match, visit The Mattress Hub to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales associates, and feel for yourself how comfortable a mattress can be.