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Sleep and the power of suggestion

Sunday - 2/9/2014, 8:05pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Can we succumb to the power of suggestion when it comes to sleep? If someone tells us we had a good night of sleep, will we buy into it?

A new study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, "Learning, Memory and Cognition," addresses this question and suggests a placebo can have a positive effect on our sleep.

Sleep is something many of us struggle with. Not enough of it or poor quality sleep can affect our mood, judgment, health and performance.

Researcher Christina Draganich and Kristi Erdal, a psychology professor at Colorado College, analyzed 164 student volunteers in a fake sleep study.

The students were split into two groups and educated on the positive effects of good sleep. They were then connected to fake machines registering their brain waves.

The next day one group was told their sleep was above average while the other group was told their sleep was below average. Then came a series of cognitive testing on their listening and processing skills.

The above average group performed significantly higher than the second group suggesting planting a placebo even about the quality of sleep has a positive influence on behavior. So if a person of authority tells you your sleep quality was good, does it make it so?

Sleep doctor Carol Ash, who spoke on the study during an interview with CBS This Morning last month, says "Other studies have shown that too, that if a trusted authority figure gives you information, you'll believe it."

All good news in the short term, but nothing can beat a good night's sleep.

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