A nap, no matter how brief, would allow most tired people to find the usual levels of hormones and proteins essential to the smooth running of the organism.
A new argument for a nap in the office.
After a short night sleep, a nap of a few minutes during the day would restore hormone levels and proteins needed by the body to fight stress and to restore the function of the immune system, according to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Less stress, more resistance
This was the conclusion, that came from the French and American researchers who examined the relationship between hormonal functioning and sleep duration of eleven men aged 25-32 years, subjected to several sleep sessions. During one of these experiences, the sleep time of participants was limited to two hours a night. The next day, some were able to nap for two hours, others 30 minutes. Urine and saliva were then analyzed to assess the level of their hormones at different times of the experiment.
After their short night’s sleep, the volunteers saw their norepinephrine levels multiplied by two and a half times. This hormone regulates mainly stress management of the body but also the excitement, selective attention, vigilance, emotions, learning or the strengthening of certain circuits of memory. Present in large amount, it promotes the increase in cardiac frequency, voltage and glucose.
Lack of sleep has also affected the levels of interleukin-6 in participants, a protein with antiviral properties, contained in saliva. The researchers, however, found that these two components were at normal levels after a short nap.
“Our work suggests that a nap of just 30 minutes can reverse the hormonal impact of a bad night,” says Brice Faraut, one of the main authors, researcher at the University Paris Descartes-Sorbonne. “This is the first study to demonstrate that a nap can restore the level of the neuroendocrine and the condition of the immune system. Our results argue for the development of concrete strategies that could help people chronically lacking sleep, such as those working at night,” he adds.
At a time when Google landscape relaxation areas for employees and where the rest of the afternoon has become a mandatory practice in many Japanese companies, most of the other companies hardly brings out the principle of nap: sleep at work keeps a negative connotation, returning an image of laziness and inefficiency, although many studies have already shown its beneficial effects on employee productivity or learning ability.