Here’s some bad news: it turns out that your power naps won’t restore a sleepless night, a recent study from the Michigan State University’s Sleep and Learning Lab said. The study was published in the journal Sleep. It’s one of the first ones to measure the effectiveness of shorter naps, which people usually fit into their busy schedules.
“We found that short naps of 30 or 60 minutes did not show any measurable effects. While short naps didn’t show measurable effects on relieving the effects of sleep deprivation, we found that the amount of slow-wave sleep that participants obtained during the nap were related to reduced impairments associated with sleep deprivation,” said Kimberly Fenn, MSU associate professor, MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab director, and study author.
Basically, slow-wave sleep or SWS for short, is the deepest and most restorage stage of one’s sleep. It’s the sleep stage wherein your body is most relaxed, your muscles are at ease, and both your respiration and heart rate are at their slowest.
“SWS is the most important stage of sleep,” Fenn said. “When someone goes without sleep for a period of time, even just during the day, they build up a need for sleep. In particular, they build up a need for SWS. When individuals go to sleep each night, they will soon enter into SWS and spend a substantial amount of time in this stage.”
Fenn hopes that the findings underscore the importance of prioritizing sleep and that naps—even if they include SWS—can’t replace a full night of sleep. Their findings just go to show that you really can’t beat sleeping soundly at night. That’s why you should always prioritize having regular sleep, no matter how busy you are. Understandably, it can be hard with everything going on, but you really need to get some zzz’s.