It’s no secret that sleep is the key to our bodies keeping themselves healthy. But sometimes we don’t get the sleep we need – so, we resort to naps to help us make up for those lost hours.
I consider myself a nap enthusiast. Nothing is better than a cozy nap when you’ve had a hard day at work or school, sometimes we even look forward to them. But now we’re giving you even more reasons to snuggle up. A new study out of the University of Michigan suggests that those who take naps are able to tolerate stress and frustration significantly longer than those who don’t take naps. Now, I could have told you that one. But let’s see what science has to say about what I’ve been proving my whole life.
To come to this conclusion, researchers studied people ages 18-50. They were asked to get three nights of regular sleep, and then instructed to take a survey on their ability to handle frustration. The subjects were then randomized as to who would be taking a midday nap. The study was aimed at what a nap in the middle of the day could do for someone’s emotional control and overall functionality. The subjects were given an unsolvable problem both before and after their naps, and were then sent off to sleep, respectively. After the napping period was over, everyone was presented with the problem again. The subjects who took 60 minute naps (and reportedly slept for most of the time allotted) spent significantly more time attempting to solve the problem, while subjects who remained awake gave up quicker. Those who napped also reported less impulsive and more patient.
Non-nappers were also shown to have a high level of impulsiveness to go along with their lowered patience. The study found that being awake for long periods of time could result in emotional impairment, leading to increased stress and poor decision making. Yet, something we need to take into consideration is that this was a very controlled study with a small pool of people. Their sleep schedule was based on normal wake and rise times (sad news for every college kid who goes to bed at 4am and gets up at noon). There was also no technological data involved in this study either. Meaning that the subjects didn’t wear sensors to gauge how long they experienced deep sleep, were woken up, or were restless. There was also a lack of internet usage before bed. One of the downfalls of technology is that we spend so much time scrolling through our phones before we fall asleep, that it can actually inhibit us from a good night’s rest. This factor was left out of the study.
No matter what, we should all be getting a good night’s rest. It’s the time when our bodies regenerate cells and muscle, aside from helping us ward off viruses. But if you have to be up all night, or skip a few of your much needed hours, it appears napping is the way to go. It’s not just for kindergartners anymore! Just be careful not to sleep too long, or you could end up feeling groggier than before. Aim for anywhere between 30-60 minutes for optimal results. Sweet dreams!
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