New research from the University of Paris has found
that indulging in a 30 minute power nap can repair the damage
caused by lack of sleep. 


Image: Butternbin 

Having a 30-minute snooze can help
relieve stress and bolster the immune systems by restoring hormones
and proteins to normal levels. Sleep deprivation not only puts
people at increased risk of suffering accidents, but they are also
more likely to develop chronic diseases including obesity,
diabetes, high blood pressure and depression

Dr Brice Faraut, of the Université Paris
Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité, said: "Our data suggests that a
30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor
sleep. This is the first study that found napping could restore
biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal

The study examined the relationship
between hormones and sleep in a group of 11 healthy men between 25
and 32 years old. During one session, the men were limited to two
hours of sleep for one night. For the other session, they were able
to take two, 30-minute naps the day after their sleep was
restricted to two hours. Each of the three-day sessions began with
a night where subjects spent eight hours in bed and concluded with
a recovery night of unlimited sleep.

After a night of limited sleep, the men had a 2.5
fold increase in levels of norepinephrine, a hormone and
neurotransmitter involved in the body's fight-or-flight response to
stress. Norepinephrine increases the body's heart rate, blood
pressure and blood sugar. The researchers found no change in
norepinephrine levels when the men had napped following a night of
limited sleep. The levels dropped after a night of restricted
sleep, but remained normal when the subjects were allowed to

Our sleep expert Dr Nerina agrees
with the benefits of napping, "Power naps can help to rejuvenate
you during the day - giving you more energy to live a fulfilled
life. The most important thing to remember is that a power nap is
not sleeping.The best time to power nap is during the day if you
start to feel sleepy or find yourself losing concentration. Many
people have a natural dip in energy levels around 3pm - making it
the ideal time for a power nap." For more sleep tips and advice
visit our Sleep Toolkit.