Researchers Argue Sleeping Twice A Day Could Be Good For You

Photographed by Maria Del Rio.
At this point, more than a third of adults in the U.S. are considered sleep-deprived. So, getting more ZZZs is a huge priority. A pair of sleep researchers at The Conversation argue that the solution may be taking daily naps.

The researchers cite evidence from anthropological studies suggesting that humans used to sleep in two distinct periods per day. However, as the Industrial Age took hold in Europe, it seems like this two-part ("bi-phasic") sleep pattern became harder to maintain. By the end of the 17th century, it started to fall out of fashion.

It makes sense that we sleepy people might yearn for the return of bi-phasic sleep. And there may be some cognitive and health benefits of getting back there, too. Studies tend to show that napping improves our moods, makes us feel more relaxed, and causes us to be more alert (duh). At work, it turns out that afternoon napping does a better job of getting us over that post-lunch slump than caffeine. And one small study showed that napping after being sleep-deprived may actually help undo some of the physiological harm of excess stress. So, if you're tired, it's no surprise that a nap will definitely make you feel better.

But there's one sad little caveat: One of the best things you can do for your sleep is to stick to a schedule. If your naps aren't happening consistently at around the same time every day, you might be better off skipping them altogether (as long as you don't have to drive). Otherwise, recent research suggests you could be unwittingly sabotaging the your sleep rhythm in the long-term. Still, there's no denying that unique euphoria of a great nap.
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