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Int J Neurosci. 1979;9(2):97-112.

Effects of habitual variations in napping on psychomotor performance, memory and subjective states.


Effects of habitual variations in napping on psychomotor performance, short-term memory and subjective states were investigated. The subjects were 32 healthy male university students who napped twice or more weekly in themorning and at night. Sixteen were randomly assigned to a control group and 16 to a nap(treatment) group. The experiment comprised two conditions of electrographically (EEG) recorded sleep for the nap group and two EEG monitored conditions of wakefulness for the controls. These conditions were scheduled from 9:35 to 11:35 a.m. and 12 hr later between 9:35 p.m. and 11:35 p.m. Measurements were obtained from: (a) a continuous 10-min auditory reaction time task, (b) a free recall task of short-term memory, (c) an activation-mood adjective check list, and (d) the Stanford Sleepiness scale. Except for memory the dependent variables of waking function were assessed 20 min before and 20 min after all conditions. Following each sleep condition the nap group as opposed to the controls showed a statistically significant improvement in reaction time performance, higher short-term retention, less reported sleepiness and elevated subjective states reflected by fice factors on the adjective mood-activation check list. Among the correlations computed the largest significant coefficients were of stage 4 and REM with posttreatment Stanford Sleepiness ratings. After naps, increased postdormital sleepiness was correlated with stage 4 and decreased sleepiness with REM sleep. Although few strikingly divergent functional effects were associated with morning and nocturanal naps, these did covary with sleep psychophysiology. It is postulated that the phase, the EEG-sleep stages and possibly the duration of accustomed naps are less salient factors influencing performance when the time since awakening until behavioral assessment can be kept constant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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