Most of us know from painful experience that a lack of good sleep can affect all manner of things – such as our energy, concentration and mood. In fact, it's hard to think of an aspect of our daily lives that sleep doesn't affect. Evidence suggests that long-term poor sleep can increase our risk of developing a range of mental and physical illnesses – from depression to diabetes.

But despite all this it may still surprise you to learn about some of the things that your night's sleep might affect.

Be more honest

This might sound unbelievable, but scientific studies have shown that people are more likely to tell lies in the afternoon.

Thanks to the 'morning morality effect', you are more honest when you wake up, but your morals slip as the day goes on. Statistics show that people are 20-50% more likely to be dishonest in the afternoon. And it's because you get tired. The less energy you have, the harder it is to stay ethical.

Another study found that night owls are more likely to stay ethical after lunch than early risers, because they feel more rested in the afternoon.

So what's the moral of the story? Make those tough ethical decisions when you're refreshed after a good night's sleep. Honestly. We're not making this up.

Control your cravings

Sleeping better makes it easier to stick to your diet and eat healthily. Research has shown that if you sleep well, it's easier to resist junk food and snacks, giving you another good reason to get a decent night's rest.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that if you're sleep-deprived, your brain gets more excited when it sees high-calorie food. At the same time, the more tired you are, the more likely you are to give in to temptation.

But sleep well, and suddenly those unhealthy snacks don't look anywhere near as appealing. Yet another example of why good sleep equals good health.

Boost your creativity

Have you ever woken up with the solution to a problem that seemed impossible the night before?

You're not alone, because some of the most creative ideas came to people in their sleep:

  • Paul McCartney dreamed the entire melody to Yesterday.
  • The periodic table came to chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev during a nap.
  • Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus changed his swing after dreaming of a different grip.

Scientific studies have confirmed that sleep can inspire creative insight. And dream-inducing REM can help you find hidden links between ideas – a process essential to creative problem solving.

So next time you can't sleep because your mind won't let go of a problem, remember that once you nod off, your unconscious brain might solve it for you.