Our thoughts during sleep influence sleep itself. This has been shown by researchers from the University of Fribourg. The study lays an important foundation for the development of new interventions to optimize sleep quality even while we are actually sleeping.

It was not clear to date how thoughts before sleep can influence the deep sleep that occurs later. As part of the ERC project «MemoSleep» conducted by Prof. Björn Rasch, researchers developed a theory which assumes that certain mental concepts such as «sleep”, «relaxation», «safe environment» or also «stress», «pressure to perform» or «unfamiliar environment» remain active during the unconscious sleep state and have an influence on sleep quality.

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Beck J., Loretz E., Rasch B.: Exposure to relaxing words during sleep promotes slow-wave sleep and subjective sleep quality. Sleep. 2021; zsab148; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsab148