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Study confirms the effect of short naps on sleep at night

The latest study from the Sleep and Learning Laboratory of Michigan State University, USA, confirmed that naps during the day may cause deprivation of good sleep at night, according to the report published on the “Times of India” website.

"We found that short naps of 30 or 60 minutes showed no measurable effects on sleep at night," said Kimberly Finn, associate professor and director of the Sleep and Learning Laboratory at Michigan State University and an author of the study.

The study, published in the journal Sleep, is among the first to measure the effectiveness of shorter naps, and all people often have enough time to adjust to their busy schedules.

Slow-wave sleep, or SWS, is the deepest and most refreshing stage of sleep, characterized by high-amplitude, low-frequency brain waves, the stage of sleep when your body is most relaxed, your muscles are relaxed, and your heart rate and breathing are the slowest.

“SWS is the most important stage of sleep, when someone remains without sleep for a period of time, even during the day they acquire the need to sleep at night, in particular, they acquire the need for SWS at night and spend a significant amount of time in this stage."

Fenn's team recruited 275 college-aged participants for the study. Participants completed cognitive tasks when they arrived at the MSU Sleep and Learning Lab in the evening. They were then randomly assigned to three groups, the first sent home to sleep, and the second remaining in the lab. Throughout the night they had the opportunity to nap for 30 or 60 minutes, and the third group did not nap at all in the deprived condition.

The study concluded that the group who stayed up all night and took short daytime naps still experienced the effects of sleep deprivation and made significantly more mistakes on tasks the next day than those who returned home and got a full night's sleep.

Ultimately, the study author says, the findings underscore the importance of prioritizing nighttime sleep, and that naps, even if they include SWS, cannot replace a full night's sleep.