It's a known fact that the quality of your sleep may affect your efficiency when you're awake, but did you know that the quality of your waking hours may also affect how fast you fall sleep?

This was what researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center reported in their study, as featured on ScienceDaily.com.

They conducted a trial involving three sets of mice. Members of the control group slept and woke up at will and were left to do regular mouse activities. This group represented people who got regular sleeping and waking hours.

The second group was kept awake by a series of cage changes. As mice are naturally curious, they spent hours on end exploring each new cage. This group represented people who stayed awake by choice.

The third group was also kept awake but by gentler means, such as by waving a hand in front of them or lightly tapping their cages when they seemed to be falling asleep. This group represented people who stayed awake because they needed to.

Although both test groups lacked the same amount of sleep, they still reacted differently-- the mice who experienced change cages took longer to fall asleep than those who were kept awake by waving or tapping.

This led to the identification of two proteins that may help promote sleep balance. Getting enough rest, however, is still important in order for the body to be able to recuperate from the stress it has experienced, so after a long day, make sure that you get proper sleep.

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(Photo by motoyen via Flickr Creative Commons)

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