Naps Counteract Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Naps appear to restore norepinephrine and interleukin-6 levels to normal

TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Brief daytime naps might protect against the harmful health effects of a poor night's sleep, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The small study included 11 healthy men between the ages of 25 and 32. Researchers restricted the volunteers' sleep to only two hours for a night. The next day, they had a 2.5-fold increase in levels of norepinephrine. They also had lower levels of interleukin-6.

On another night, sleep was limited to two hours again. However, the next day they were allowed to take two 30-minute naps. After napping, the men's norepinephrine and interleukin-6 levels were normal.

"Our data suggests a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep," study author Brice Faraut, Ph.D., of the Universite Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cite, said in a journal news release. "This is the first study that found napping could restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels. Napping may offer a way to counter the damaging effects of sleep restriction by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover." Faraut added that, "the findings support the development of practical strategies for addressing chronically sleep-deprived populations, such as night and shift workers."

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