Thinking you slept well (even if it’s not) will improve your mood

Thinking you slept well (even if it's not) will improve your mood

After a good night’s sleep, you are more smiling. Conversely, disturbed sleep will tend to put your nerves on edge… But is it really the quality of your sleep that influences your mood? The surprising answer from researchers at the University of Warwick in England!

Like many of us, are you convinced that the quality of your sleep is directly related to your mood for the day? English scientists demonstrate on the one hand that it is not so simple and on the other hand, that it is quite simple to remedy it.

Sleep: a group of a hundred participants followed

As part of their study, 109 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 22 had to keep a diary of their daily sleep for two weeks, noting details of their previous night:

  • The time they went to bed;
  • The time spent preparing to fall asleep;
  • The time it took them to fall asleep;
  • The time they woke up;
  • The time they got out of bed;
  • How satisfied they were with their sleep in general.

Over the next day, participants were asked 5 times to rate their mood (positive and negative emotions) and how satisfied they were with their life each time.

Throughout the study, they wore an actigraph on their wrist, a small device capable of measuring a person’s movement and therefore accurately estimating their sleep patterns and rest cycles.

The influence of sleep on well-being, a subjective criterion

The researchers compared the actigraphy data with the participants’ perceptions of their sleep and how they felt throughout the following day. They wanted to find out how much fluctuations in sleep patterns and quality were related to their mood the next day.

Our results revealed that how young people rated their own sleep was consistently related to how they felt about their well-being and life satisfaction. For example, when participants reported that they slept better than they normally did, they experienced more positive emotions and had a higher sense of life satisfaction the next day. However, actigraph-assessed sleep quality (or “sleep efficiency”) was not at all associated with next-day well-being. explains the lead author of this study, Dr Anita Lenneis from the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick.

It is people’s perception of their sleep quality and not actigraphy-based sleep efficiency that matters for their well-being“says the main author.

In other words, if you feel like you had a good night (and even if you didn’t), it will have a positive impact on your mood!

Consult a doctor online for your sleep disorders

Evaluate your sleep positively to be in a better mood

The study therefore suggests that a positive evaluation of one’s sleep can contribute to a better mood the next day. “Even though a sleep tracker might tell you didn’t sleep well last night, your own perception of your sleep quality can be quite positive. And if you think you slept well, it can help improve your mood the next day.” adds Dr. Lenneis. “On the contrary, if this device tells you that you slept well, but that you did not experience the night as such, this information can help you reassess how well you actually slept.”

What applications can we draw from this study? On the one hand, it confirms that self-reported health is not necessarily consistent with actual health status. On the other hand, it may encourage you to invest in an actigraph. “The device thus offers you information about your sleep that is not usually accessible during sleep. This can therefore improve your subjective perception of last night’s sleep and, therefore, the overall well-being of the next day.“concludes the specialist.