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Sleep. 2017 Sep 1;40(9). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsx118.

Short Daytime Naps Briefly Attenuate Objectively Measured Sleepiness Under Chronic Sleep Restriction.

Author information

1
E.P. Bradley Hospital Sleep Research Laboratory, Providence, Rhode Island.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Palo Alto, California.
4
Centre for Sleep Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Abstract

Study Objectives:

Napping is a useful countermeasure to the negative effects of acute sleep loss on alertness. The efficacy of naps to recover from chronic sleep loss is less well understood.

Methods:

Following 2 baseline nights (10 hours' time-in-bed), participants were restricted to 7 nights of 5-hour sleep opportunity. Ten adults participated in the No-Nap condition, and a further 9 were assigned to a Nap condition with a daily 45-minute nap opportunity at 1300 h. Sleepiness was assessed using the multiple sleep latency test and a visual analogue scale at 2-hour intervals. Both objective and subjective indexes of sleepiness were normalized within subject as a difference from those at baseline prior to sleep restriction. Mixed-effects models examined how the daytime nap opportunity altered sleepiness across the day and across the protocol.

Results:

Short daytime naps attenuated sleepiness due to chronic sleep restriction for up to 6-8 hours after the nap. Benefits of the nap did not extend late into evening. Subjective sleepiness demonstrated a similar short-lived benefit that emerged later in the day when objective sleepiness already returned to pre-nap levels. Neither measure showed a benefit of the nap the following morning after the subsequent restriction night.

Conclusions:

These data indicate a short daytime nap may attenuate sleepiness in chronic sleep restriction, yet subjective and objective benefits emerge at different time scales. Because neither measure showed a benefit the next day, the current study underscores the need for careful consideration before naps are used as routine countermeasures to chronic sleep loss.

KEYWORDS:

MSLT; countermeasure; napping; sleep loss; sleep restriction; sleepiness

PMID:
28934525
PMCID:
PMC6251588
DOI:
10.1093/sleep/zsx118
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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