Napping Countered Detrimental Effects of Short-Term Sleep Deprivation in Men

What You Need to Know: Two 30-minute naps relieved stress and bolstered the immune system of men who slept only 2 hours the night before, according to results of a small study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“Our data suggest a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep,” Brice Faraut, PhD, study researcher from the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité in Paris, said in a press release. “This is the first study that found napping could restore biomarkers of neuroendocrine and immune health to normal levels.”

The Evidence: In the randomized, crossover study, 11 healthy, nonsmoking young men (age range, 25 to 32 years, BMI, 19 to 25) were strictly controlled in a laboratory environment in terms of sleep-wake status, light environment and caloric intake, and were monitored continuously via polysomnography.

Dr. Faraut and colleagues examined neuroendocrine and immune biomarkers of a night of sleep restricted to 2 hours, which was followed by a day without naps or with 30-minute morning and afternoon naps. Patients then underwent an ad libitum recovery night of sleep following the sleep-restricted night from 20:00 to when they woke up. Main study outcome measures were salivary interleukin-6 (IL-6) and urinary catecholamines, which were evaluated throughout the daytime study periods.

  • The afternoon (16:00 to 19:00) after the sleep-restricted night, researchers found a 2.5-fold increase in norepinephrine levels compared with the same period during the control day (P=.03). These changes, however, were not observed after a 30-minute nap in the morning and afternoon (P=.88).
  • Similarly, differences in interleukin-6 levels were comparable between those who napped after sleep deprivation and the control group (P=.51).
  • In addition, levels of afternoon epinephrine and dopamine were increased during the recovery day for patients who did not nap, which was not the case for those who did. There was also an association between the recovery night of those who napped and a reduced amount of slow-wave sleep compared with those who did not nap.

“Napping may offer a way to counter the damaging effects of sleep restriction by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover,” Dr. Faraut said. “The findings support the development of practical strategies for addressing chronically sleep-deprived populations, such as night and shift workers.”

My Take: Yes, in the short-term, but…  I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad: Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you.

 Reference: Faraut B et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;doi:10.1210/jc.2014-2566.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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