August 14, 2022

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Siesta-Science – Four good reasons to bang your head in the afternoon – knowledge

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More Performance, Less Stress: Do you still doubt the power of power naps? These scientific studies will convince you.

Power naps, naps, siestas, afternoon naps: short-term drifting has a few names – this type is surpassed only by positive properties: it is said to have a performance-enhancing effect, is good for the immune system and strengthens the heart. So it’s funny that Siesta in this country is still struggling with image problems.

85 percent of mammals sleep polyphasically—that is, several times a day. Small children and even adults do not get enough sleep at night: they lie down for a second time in the middle of the night. Adults are mainly monophasic sleepers. However, the current research situation shows that we need to reconsider this.

1. Sistas make us creative

As published in February, a short intervention can be consciously applied to creative ideas and solutions study from the Sorbonne University in Paris. 100 test subjects were required to solve a math problem – before and after a 20-minute interval. Subjects were required to spend breaks with their eyes closed, holding a bottle in their hand that they dropped as they passed out.

The study showed that people who were awakened by a dropped bottle during sleep were three times more likely to solve the task than those who were awake or fully asleep. One explanation for this is “hypnagogia”, a state we reach just before falling asleep, a type of hallucination.

2. Power naps increase our tolerance level for frustration

Counting sheep during your lunch break? Do! One Investigation From the University of Michigan, suggesting that it can increase our productivity: In the study, subjects had to complete a variety of difficult tasks and tests in a laboratory. There were also numerous questions about sleep patterns and mood.

Siesta Science


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With a power nap, the effect is proportional to length: while a few more minutes of sleep at night doesn’t make a noticeable difference, a short power nap boosts concentration, motivation and well-being for hours.

Olaf Lahl and his colleagues from the University of Düsseldorf found in 2007 that a six-minute power nap was enough to improve memory.

Study participants were called into the sleep lab at 1 p.m. and given a list of 30 words to memorize in two minutes. An hour later they were interrogated. Meanwhile, some were allowed to sleep for six minutes and others for 35 minutes – the control group was kept awake.

Those who were awake remembered fewer words during the test than those who were asleep. A six-minute nap was enough to show a significant difference.

When the participants finished, some were allowed to sleep, while others had to watch the video during this time. The researchers announced that the tests had to be repeated, and observed how the participants behaved: the test subjects, who were allowed to take a nap in between, solved the task more calmly and stayed on the ball longer.

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3. Sleep compensates for lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep disrupts our hormonal system: resulting in increased cortisol levels and various inflammatory responses. However, researchers at Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité University were able to show in 2015 that short naps can offset these effects.

After a short night (two hours), norepinephrine concentration increased 2.5 times in all study participants. Stress hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar. The surprising thing: there were also participants who were allowed to take a nap – for them, these values ​​\u200b\u200breturned to normal after 20 minutes of sleep. A short power nap can make up for a short period of sleep deprivation.

4. Sleep strengthens our heart

Regular sleepers have a 37 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The word “regular” is key here.

Power Tapping: How It Works


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  • For sleep to be truly restful, it should not last too long. Ten minutes is enough to achieve the optimal effect: If you sleep too long, you can slip into REM sleep, which affects emotions and makes many people careless.
  • Timing is also important for a successful power nap: it should happen in the late afternoon or early afternoon after eating. For sensitive sleepers, short naps can make it more difficult to fall asleep in the evening because they reduce the pressure to fall asleep. Insomniacs should not sleep past 3 pm.
  • By the way, one method of estimating the correct duration of power sleep is called “key sleep”: to do this, you need to sit comfortably in a chair and hold a bunch of keys in your hand. If you open your hand it falls to the ground. A power nap relaxes your muscles before you drift off into deep sleep. A bunch of keys fall to the floor and you wake up. After this short time, you will feel healthy and rested again.
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the sea Lausanne researchersPeople who take a nap once or twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart attack – as opposed to those who never take a nap during the day. However, those who nap every day have the same risk as those who don’t take an afternoon nap. Healthy isn’t always, but sleeping in every day isn’t. It sounds complicated, but it can be implemented with a short instruction manual.

The researchers suspect that occasional power naps are healthy because “as a physiological compensation for not getting enough sleep, it reduces stress and thus reduces cardiovascular risk,” they write in their brief.

Have we piqued your interest?


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Watch all episodes of “SRF Einstein”. Play SRF.

SRF1, Einstein², June 28, 2022, 5 p.m