Why a Nap Will Solve All Your Problems

Ever feel the need to just lean back and catch a quick twenty minutes of shut-eye? That may not be a bad idea.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has found that a quick nap can mitigate the effects of very poor sleep—which is handy, since lots of Canadians aren’t getting enough sleep. Researchers had eleven healthy volunteers, men aged twenty-five to thirty-five, undergo two sleep sessions in a lab, where both their meals and lighting were heavily controlled.

In the first session, men were limited to just two hours of sleep. In the second session, men were once again limited to two hours of sleep, but they were allowed to take two thirty-minute naps the day after. Each three-day session began with a night of eight hours of sleep and ended with a recovery night of unlimited sleep.

Researchers measured the men’s levels of the hormone norepinephrine, with is a stress hormone associated with spikes in the heart rate and blood sugar, and found two and a half times the normal amount when they’d only slept two hours. However, when the men took their naps, their norepinephrine levels dropped to normal.

A small study, to be sure, but hey—the lab coats are telling you it’s a good idea to nap. Are you going to argue?


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