Afternoon naps have been proven to improve memory, mood and alertness – new study

Research shows that an afternoon nap can improve memory, improve your mood, and make you feel more alert for the rest of the day. The study was conducted by a team from the National University of Singapore. Dr. Ruth Leong, a researcher at the university’s Center for Sleep and Cognition, explained the research.

“Many people are aware of the benefits of daytime naps, but the need to optimize time during the workday imposes limits on the practicality of regular daytime naps for some,” said Dr. Leong.

“We had to ask: is there a recommended amount of afternoon nap that strikes a balance between practicality and meaningful benefit?”

A set of 32 participants, all of whom enjoyed their usual amount of sleep at night, went through four experimental conditions.

The experiment required all participants to sleep 10, 30 or an hour on different days.

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Mood, subjective sleepiness, and cognitive ability were measured at intervals of 5, 30, and 240 minutes after a nap.

Compared to being awake, a nap of 10 to 60 minutes had clear benefits and lasted up to 240 minutes after the nap (four hours).

Importantly, only 30 minutes of sleep contributed to memory encoding.

However, at 30- and 60-minute sleep, sleep inertia, a feeling of drowsiness, and a temporary decrease in performance were observed.

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However, the researchers noted that these effects disappeared within 30 minutes of waking up.

Dr Leong added: “While no clear “winning” nap duration has been found, 30 minutes of naps seem to provide the best compromise between practicality and benefit.

“Thus, 30 minutes might be the recommended duration for daytime naps, as well as an additional 10 minutes for falling asleep.”

The Sleep Foundation stated, “Sleep needs and benefits can vary from person to person.”

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He agreed that “sleep can improve cognitive functions such as memory” in addition to “logical thinking and the ability to complete complex tasks.”

Four stages of sleep

The first stage is the lightest stage of sleep, lasting from one to seven minutes.

The second stage lasts up to 25 minutes; during this stage, the muscles relax.

The third stage is deeper, restorative, from which it can be difficult to wake up, it lasts from 20 to 40 minutes.

During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the muscles of the body are temporarily paralyzed while dreaming normally occurs.

“In general, the best sleep duration for adults is around 20 minutes and no more than 30 minutes,” The Sleep Foundation said in a statement.

People are advised to take eight or more hours of naps before they plan to go to bed.

The study by Dr. Ruth Leong and her colleagues was published in the journal Sleep.

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