The role of a short post-lunch nap in improving cognitive, motor, and sprint performance in participants with partial sleep deprivation

J. Waterhouse, G. Atkinson, B. Edwards, T. Reilly

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    71 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a post-lunch nap on subjective alertness and performance following partial sleep loss. Ten healthy males (mean age 23.3 years, s = 3.4) either napped or sat quietly from 13:00 to 13:30 h after a night of shortened sleep (sleep 23:00-03:00 h only). Thirty minutes after the afternoon nap or control (no-nap) condition, alertness, short-term memory, intra-aural temperature, heart rate, choice reaction time, grip strength, and times for 2-m and 20-m sprints were recorded. The afternoon nap lowered heart rate and intra-aural temperature. Alertness, sleepiness, short-term memory, and accuracy at the 8-choice reaction time test were improved by napping (P < 0.05), but mean reaction times and grip strength were not affected (P > 0.05). Sprint times were improved. Mean time for the 2-m sprints fell from 1.060 s (sx = 0.018) to 1.019 s (sx = 0.019) (P = 0.031 paired t-test); mean time for the 20-m sprints fell from 3.971 s (sx = 0.054) to 3.878 s (sx = 0.047) (P = 0.013). These results indicate that a post-lunch nap improves alertness and aspects of mental and physical performance following partial sleep loss, and have implications for athletes with restricted sleep during training or before competition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1557-1566
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
    Volume25
    Issue number14
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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