There are two things young professionals (YPs) need more of in our lives:
More hours in the day and, subsequently, more sleep.
But if you have a soft spot for the “power nap,” here’s where your day gets better: a new study reveals that short, daytime naps can combat the effects of a less-than-ideal night’s sleep (or even an all-nighter).
Naps as short as 30 minutes were shown to restore hormones and proteins that control stress and immune function to normal levels. The study – published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism – included 11 healthy men who fell within the age range of our Notable.ca readers, 25-32.
When their amount of sleep was restricted to only two hours a night (something that most of us experience at least a couple of times a month, right?), the effects were noticed in more ways than a few additional yawns. The subjects experienced a 2.5-fold increase in levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine, which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar and had lower levels of the virus-fighting protein interleukin-6.
So that explains why you feel like garbage after a workweek filled with late nights and coffee.
But, when the subjects were allowed to take two 30-minute naps the day after another evening restricted to two hours of sleep, the men’s norepinephrine and interleukin-6 levels were normal.
This marks the first study that found that napping could restore these hormones to normal levels by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover.
So, nap away, YPs (just don’t let your boss catch you).
Cover image by: istock.com/stokkete