Friday, June 13, 2008

The Best Solution To Sleepiness? Take A Nap!

As you know, I'm obsessed with sleep. When people ask me, "How would your life change if you suddenly became a billionaire," I always answer, "I'd build my own indoor basketball court, and I'd take a nap every day."

It turns out that science agrees. Loughborough University researchers compared three methods of fighting 3:30 PM sleepiness: Sleep in an extra 90 minutes, take a 20-minute nap at 2:30, and drink two cups of coffee at 2.

Control volunteers fell asleep in 9 minutes. Those that slept in fell asleep in 10 minutes. Caffeine users fell asleep in 12 minutes. But nappers took 18 minutes, or double the time, to fall asleep.

(Side note: the "how long to fall asleep in a dark room" is a classic test. My friend Maie underwent the test at Stanford's sleep research labs, and they said she fell asleep faster than any other research subject they'd ever studied. Maie averaged about 3 hours of sleep per night)

Alas, the researchers noted that even though napping was the most effective technique by a wide margin, caffeine is still probably the treatment of choice:

Anderson said that while napping is the clear winner in combating afternoon drowsiness, caffeine is probably a more socially acceptable alternative. "Napping is seen as some kind of laziness," she said, "or something associated with old people."

What rot. Who's up for a siesta?

(hat tip to BoingBoing)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

peeps need to read the sciencenews link to realize that the subjects were directed to resist falling asleep in he darkroom. note the 7.4hr "baseline" vs Maie's 3hr shows that "sleeping in" is a matter of perspective. btw, what activity did the three non-sleep-in groups pursue doing their 90 min? the test would have better chance of relevance if the extra 90 min was attached to the beginning of the sleep period.
IME, regular exercise is the best sleep regulator.
more sleepy stuff:

flsa labor law allows 15min break per 4hr period, plus there's 30-60min for "lunch", so there's your unembarrassing naptime.