After a sleepless night, we may feel irritable, drowsy and unable to concentrate. And many of us crave a pick-me-up in the form of an afternoon nap, which may help relieve some of the yawning, but according to new research from Michigan State University, it won’t do much to help with work performance or concentration.
For thestudy, 280 volunteers completed a cognitive test, then some were allowed to go home and others were kept awake all night long. The next day, some of the sleep-deprived group took a 30-minute nap, others took an hour-long nap, and everyone took another cognitive test. It’s no surprise that those who were up all night did worse than those who went home to sleep, but it turns out, the nappers did just as badly as those who were awake overnight and didn’t get to nap.
But the study finds there’s still an upside to napping. While a short midday nap didn’t help in these tests, it can boost what’s known as slow-wave sleep, considered the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. It’s when the body is most relaxed and study author Dr. Kimberly Fenn calls it “the most important stage of sleep. Participants who got more slow-wave sleep tended to have fewer errors on the tests, but they still didn’t do as well as the group who went home and slept overnight.