We all have those days where we run on lack of sleep. It makes us unproductive, stressed, inattentive and just plain exhausted. In short, not a good day. But new research shows that a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep, helping to relieve stress and bolster the immune system.
As reported in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the study conducted examined the relationship between hormones and sleep in a group of men who underwent two sessions of sleep testing in a laboratory.
During one session, the men were limited to two hours of sleep for one night. For the other session, subjects were able to take two 30-minute naps the day after their sleep was restricted to two hours. Each of the three-day sessions began with a night where subjects spent eight hours in bed and concluded with a recovery night of unlimited sleep.
An analysis of hormone levels was conducted after each sleep session, and they showed that after a night of limited sleep, the men had a 2.5-fold increase in levels of norepinephrine, a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress that increases the body’s heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar. The levels were normal after the subjects were allowed to nap.
“Napping may offer a way to counter the damaging effects of sleep restriction by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover,” said study author Brice Faraut, PhD, of the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in Paris, France.
So whether it is 30 minutes or one hour, a power nap during the day can do wonders for your health!