Two power naps a day keep the doctor away
So I was enjoying an extremely civilised pot of morning tea with the papers, when up popped the article below on sleep. I'm so pleased this fascinating research has backed up what I've known to be the case for a long time.
And that is... naps are good!
The research itself is pretty incredible. They took a group of men, and gave them just two hours sleep between 2am and 4am. Unsurprisingly, they were al absolutely knackered, and were found to have high levels of noradrenaline, a stress hormone. The volunteers also had low levels of interleukin-6, an anti-viral protein, suggesting their immune systems had been disrupted by sleep deprivation.
They then took the same group two weeks later, and gave them the same two hours a night. (It doesn't sound like much fun taking part in this trial.) The difference now was that they were allowed to take two 30-minute naps a day.
The naps appeared to wipe out all the damage done by the sleep loss, restoring noradrenaline to normal. Afternoon napping was especially good as it allowed more “deep” sleep.
I'm thrilled about this research. It is a small study but it further emphasizes the importance of sleep to our health and wellbeing. And if you can't get enough during the day, top it up when and where you can. Furthermore, I know from wearing a jawbone wristband that a nap during the day can produce a disproportionate amount of deep sleep - for me anyway - often about a third of the total of deep sleep I'll get during the night.
Brice Faraut, a researcher at the Paris V university and the paper’s lead author urged employers to let workers nap in the middle of the day. Hmmm. I can't see that happening in a hurry, but you can take steps yourself to have a nap whenever the opportunity arises.
Oh and one more thing. If you find it hard to nap - take a look at some of the sleep programs here.
Photo Credit: The Green Head