habit brings benefits to memory and productivity

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take one nap or even small naps short breaks during the day is a habit that helps improve memory and productivity, according to research conducted by Sleep and Cognition Center and NUS Medicineus United States.

The study assessed whether there is a recommended duration for naps to provide a balance and bring a significant benefit. The results were published in the journal Sleep, one of the most important in the field of sleep medicine.

What is a nap?

Naps are periods of sleep that occur outside the main nocturnal period and are different from an episode of uncontrollable, unintentional sleep. To discover the possible benefits of these midday naps, the researchers evaluated naps in 32 adult subjects who, after the usual amount of nocturnal sleep, were subjected to four experimental conditions—wakefulness and 10-, 30-, and 60-minute naps on alternate days.

The scientists compared sleep time objectively by means of polysomnography (an exam carried out to measure the physiological variables of sleep), which made it possible to know exactly the amount of time that should be allocated for a quality nap, taking into account the average time that sleep takes. person took a long time to fall asleep.

The mood, objective sleepiness and cognitive performance of the volunteers were measured at intervals of 5 minutes, 30, 60 and 240 minutes after awakening from the nap to assess the possible beneficial effects of this nap. In view of this, the researchers also analyzed the impacts of these minutes of sleep on the memory coding of the participants.

According to the study, it took participants 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep. And the results indicate that, compared to wakefulness, all nap durations had clear benefits in improving mood and alertness (from the shortest, 10 minutes, to the longest, 60 minutes).

However, only the 30-minute naps had a direct benefit in encoding memory, which indicates that at least half an hour of sleep is needed to improve memory.

Understanding the benefits of napping

To understand the importance of napping during the day, you first need to know the physiological mechanisms that make us sleep at night. According to the neurologist Leticia Azevedo Sosterexpert Medicina do Sono do Hospital Israelita Albert Einsteinsleep has several functions in the body, but its primary function is to make our body recover the energy that was spent during the day.

“We don’t take energy from any external place, we produce it. We wake up full of energy and spend that energy throughout the day. When this happens, energy molecules [chamadas de ATP] break down and accumulate in the body. The function of sleep is precisely to reunite and “glue” these molecules again, so that we have energy again”, explained the neurologist, emphasizing that it is the so-called homeostatic process.

But it’s not just because of energy expenditure that we sleep. We also sleep because of a metabolic process — called the circadian clock — which promotes the synchronization of the organism in relation to the light and dark of the environment (wakefulness and sleep). Finally, the third mechanism that makes us sleep is behavioral.

“We sleep at night because there is a favoring of the homeostatic process [que é o cansaço após o gasto da energia] with the metabolic moment [o nosso organismo se prepara para dormir no escuro]. By uniting these two mechanisms, plus our behavior, we managed to fall asleep and stay asleep”, explains the specialist.

Letícia also points out that naps are very useful to compensate for the excessive tiredness that makes us unable to carry out our daily activities. After all, feeling sleepy during the day is not good and makes the brain busy keeping you awake and awake while it should be busy keeping you attentive.

“Attention is the primary item in memory consolidation. You won’t memorize anything if you’re not fresh and not paying attention. To have memory and be able to memorize new facts, you need to be attentive. And to be attentive, one needs to be vigilant. Therefore, in these cases, the nap serves to compensate for tiredness and reduce sleep pressure”.

The specialist also explains that, by taking longer naps, the person restores more sleep phases, which makes the compensation of energy metabolism more efficient. However, it is necessary to assess the individual need for a nap and try to fit it into a suitable schedule so that it does not disturb sleep at night.

Thinking about it, the first step is to know if you are already sleeping enough. “You only know you’re sleeping enough if you’re waking up well,” says Letícia. This is the main point and regardless of the amount of hours slept, because the amount of hours of sleep varies from person to person.

“If you nap from 7pm to 8pm, for example, you will likely have trouble initiating your sleep at night. But, if you take a nap right after lunch and feel good, you will definitely benefit and be more relaxed”, concludes the neurologist.

Source: vidasaudavel.einstein.br

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