Getty Images Image by: Getty Images
In a recent study from French researchers, short naps relieved stress and therefore boosted the immune systems of men who had slept for only two hours the night before.
Specifically, they found that the endocrine system, the system of glands that regulates the hormones on our bodies, seems to benefit from a power nap.
A 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal hit our body’s take after a night of poor sleep, one of the authors, Brice Faraut, of the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in Paris, suggested in a statement. The immune system rebounds too, he said.
Stress hormones spike
After the bad night of sleep, the men in the study had a 2.5-fold increase in levels of norepinephrine, a hormone researchers describe as a "neurotransmitter involved in the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress" in their systems. The hormone increases the body’s heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar, all of which, if untreated, are risk factors for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
After napping? Norepinephrine levels did not increase.
The 30-minute nap seems like a fitting figure, too, given recent statistics on how work, kids and stress shave time off our sleep, according to Canadian statistics in a recent Vanier Institute of the Family report which found that six out of every 10 Canadians report feeling tired most of the time.
Having high levels of stress can shrink daily sleep by 25 minutes for women and 35 minutes for men. Having two kids can ding you 25 minutes a night. And people who are working full time report getting 25 minutes less sleep a night than those who aren’t working full time. (If you have all three sleep-busters, we sympathize!)
Now, is it too early for a nap today?
Read on for eight tips on a better sleep and how a new therapy can help prevent insomnia