Short snoozes generally OK

By • Published: February 28th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Worried that you’ll be up all night because you took a midday nap?

Don’t lose any sleep over it.

Researchers at Cornell University say an occasional snooze during the day probably will not delay the onset of sleep at night.

In fact, naps may even sharpen our mental performance and give us a more cheery outlook on life.

To learn more about how daytime snoozes affect people, scientists attached scalp electrodes and wrist activity monitors to healthy volunteers and recorded their sleep and wakefulness states.

Immediately after a nap and again on the following day, the participants were given math, decision-making and reaction tests.

When a nap was in the formula, the volunteers did better on the tests… especially the more senior sleepers.

The research is still ongoing, but scientists are finding naps under an hour are not disrupting the volunteers’ nighttime sleep.

But before you curl up for a power nap, the latest results were in normal, healthy volunteers who nap infrequently.

Medical professionals warn that in a caffeine-fueled, sleep-deprived society, naps can be a sign of an overly stressful lifestyle.

They may even hide underlying illnesses.

Snoring during naps, not feeling refreshed upon waking and irresistible urges to sleep could be signs of something wrong. People with insomnia probably should not be napping.

If you have any doubts about the healthfulness of your slumbers, it is best to consult with a doctor.

But if not, now may be the perfect time to catch forty winks.