Over the past two decades there have been a variety of studies examining the effects of sleep deprivation. Sometimes these showed that the metabolism and the immune system are badly affected. The same applies to our body’s ability to metabolize food appropriately and to fight infections. Yet is a Healthy afternoon nap and helps to compensate for this deficiency?
If you believe Siobhan Banks from the University of South Australia, that could well be the case. The researcher sometimes deals with the effects of lack of sleep and 24/7 working hours on health and performance. She is also working on developing countermeasures to combat fatigue. She spoke to ScienceAlert in more detail on the topic and on whether or not an afternoon nap is healthy.
“There is some evidence that you don’t necessarily have to get all of your sleep in one big chunk. In many work environments, there is a main four or five hour nap, which can be supplemented with a one or two hour nap in the afternoon. That seems to be one way of ‘hacking’ your sleep. “
The length of the afternoon nap is not necessarily decisive. The important thing is, quite simply, that people who do not get enough sleep should take more naps. So the answer to the question of whether it is healthy to take a nap in the afternoon is very simple: yes.
One nap is not enough?
Banks goes beyond this question. If a nap in the afternoon isn’t enough for you, the sleep researcher has another ace up his sleeve. For example, a member of her team published a research paper on “nappuccino”. It has been shown that consuming coffee immediately before a nap improves vigilance during the day, writes her colleague Stephanie Centofanti.
“It’s a bit boring, but there are ways to use caffeine strategically. The average person has a sharp spike in cortisol – a stress hormone – in the morning to get us going. It’s a perfectly normal thing. So we don’t really need coffee first thing in the morning, but people want to drink it because they feel a bit sluggish. “
A nap in the afternoon is healthy, but a cup of coffee beforehand can further improve its effects.
Sources: ScienceAlert; “A pilot study investigating the impact of a caffeine-nap on alertness during a simulated night shift” (2020, Chronobiology International)