A research by Brice Faraut and his team has a lot to enlighten us as regards the power of a nap.
A lack of sleep is highly dangerous to the body – it can impair judgement, wreak the immune system and increase the risk of illness and cause all sorts of dangers to your hormones. This research by Brice Faraut suggests that the consequence of lost sleep is repairable.
According to Brice Faraut, PhD, of the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in Paris, France, “Our data suggests a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep,
“This is the first study that found napping could restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels.” He revealed.
To conduct the study, Faraut and his team studied 11 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 32. They were cloistered in a sleep-testing laboratory where everything was strictly controlled from meals to the amount of light they received, and the researchers went on to examine the hormonal response to lack of sleep.
In the first experiment, they were only allowed two hours of sleep during an entire night and researchers subsequently analysed participants’ urine and saliva.
Analysis indicated they had a 2.5-fold increase in the stress hormone norepinephrine after their two hours sleep, and levels of interleukin-6 also dropped. Norepinephrine is a chemical released from the nervous system in response to stress. It is involved in a fight against increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar upon the perception of danger. Whereas, the interleukin-6 plays a major role in boosting the immune system.
After participants had caught up on their sleep and hormones had returned to baseline, researchers conducted another experiment in which the two-hour sleep limit was repeated, but the men were given the chance to take two 30-minute naps the following day.
No changes in norepinephrine levels or interleukin-6 levels were detected after the naps.
Faraut revealed that: “Napping may offer a way to counter the damaging effects of sleep restriction by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover.”
The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).