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To nap or not to nap ... ?

       There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.  Homer, the Odyssey

Modern life doesn't feel well adapted to having a siesta.  Even if I'm happily asleep in the afternoon, most of those who I might communicate or interact with are likely to be busily in the heart of their work days.  Is being tempted to sleep a bit after lunch more a sign of age, infirmity, lack of adequate night time sleep or possibly excessive alcohol with my meal.  Or is sleeping in the afternoon a skilful response to our natural circadian rhythms and a solidarity with much of the animal kingdom who regularly sleep at some stage during the day ... for example, male lions sleep for 18-20 hours daily!

The authors of the recent paper Systematic review and meta-analyses on the effects of afternoon napping on cognition comment "Naps are increasingly considered a means to boost cognitive performance. We quantified the cognitive effects of napping in 60 samples from 54 studies ... Afternoon naps have a small to medium benefit over multiple cognitive tests (e.g. memory, vigilance, processing speed). These effects transcend age, nap duration and tentatively, habituality and prior nocturnal sleep."  And similar benefits are also noted in a further recent review - Effects of a short daytime nap on the cognitive performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis - with its abstract reading "Napping in the workplace is under debate, with interesting results on work efficiency and well-being of workers. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we aimed to assess the benefits of a short daytime nap on cognitive performance ... Despite the fact that our meta-analyses included almost exclusively laboratory studies, daytime napping in the afternoon improved cognitive performance with beneficial effects of early nap. More studies in real work condition are warranted before implementing daytime napping at work as a preventive measure to improve work efficiency."


More to follow ...


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