Napping could boost memory, mood, information processing speed and overall cognitive functioning in teens, a new study suggests.
Published by the Sleep Research Society, the study sought to find out if splitting sleep across day and night is a healthy alternative to having a main and often insufficient night sleep.
The researchers measured cognitive performance and glucose levels in teenage students with short sleep on school days and recovery sleep on weekends; tracking them for two weeks.
According to their finding, napping helps augment poor night sleep in some way and could offer interesting cognitive advantages.
“We found that compared to being able to sleep nine hours a night, having only 6.5 hours to sleep in 24 hours degrades performance and mood,” said Michael Chee, professor, and director at Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience.
“Interestingly, under conditions of sleep restriction, students in the split sleep group exhibited better alertness, vigilance, working memory, and mood than their counterparts who slept 6.5 hours continuously.”
Noting that the continuous sleep schedule appeared to be better for glucose tolerance, Joshua Gooley, a neuroscience professor and co-author of the study added:
“While 6.5 hours of night sleep did not affect glucose levels, the split sleep group demonstrated a greater increase in 2 of 3 blood glucose levels to the standardized glucose load in both simulated school weeks.”
The researchers explained that different sleep schedules might have unclear consequences for various aspect of human health, and added that further studies would attempt finding out if split sleep schedule might heighten the risks of diabetes later in life.