A half an hour nap can boost memory, mood and alertness for four hours
Feeling a bit sleepy this Sunday?
After burning the candle at both ends all week, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a little mid-day snooze on the sofa.
And your afternoon nap won’t just keep you going until bedtime – it can boost your memory and mood too.
Research reveals that napping for as little as 30 minutes can boost your mood, memory and alertness for up to four hours after you wake up.
Seems like a pretty good pay off to us.
The study from the National University of Singapore also reveals that even shorter 10 minute naps can reduce sleepiness and improve mood too.
But you’d need the longer half an hour nap to boost memory encoding – the process of taking on new information and making sense of it.
The scientists analysed 32 young adults, who were asked to nap for 10, 30 and 60 minutes on separate days.
Mood, subjective sleepiness and cognitive performance were measured at intervals of five, 30, 60 and 240 minutes after waking, in order to compare the sustained benefits of the different naps.
Compared to staying awake, all nap durations ranging from 10 to 60 minutes had clear benefits.
The 10 minute nap was the best option if you want to avoid so-called ‘sleep inertia’ – that weird groggy feeling after waking up where you don’t know who, what or where you are.
This sleep inertia caused a temporary dip in the subjects’ performance – but the effects disappeared within 30 minutes of waking.
Dr Ruth Leong, research fellow from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine said: ‘Many know the benefits of napping, but the pressure to optimise time in the workday poses constraints for some on the practicality of napping regularly.
‘We had to ask is there a recommended duration for a mid-afternoon nap that achieves a balance between practicability and meaningful benefits?’
‘While no clear ‘winning’ nap duration was found, a 30 minute nap appears to have the best trade-off between practicability and benefit.’
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