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According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Paris Descartes-Sorbonne, 2 short naps, each lasting 30 minutes, can have a beneficial effect on specific markers of stress and immune system responses after sleep deprivation the previous night.

In this study, 11 healthy men aged 23 to 32 years with regular sleep patterns were exposed to three sleep conditions during a laboratory session. For one of the nights at the lab, participants were exposed to the control condition – an 8-hour night sleep. The other two conditions were preceded by a night’s sleep of 2 hours. In a condition called “sleep restricted”, participants did not sleep for the rest of the day, while in the other condition called “restricted sleep with naps” participants had two 30-minute naps during the day (one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Following the 3 conditions, interluekin-6, an inflammatory marker that plays a role in the immune system, as well as stress-related adrenaline and noradrenaline, were measured.

The results from the study show that in the “restricted sleep” condition, participants presented a significantly higher level of noradrenaline (two and half times) compared to the levels of the control condition and “restricted sleep with naps” condition. The levels of interleukin-6 were lower in the “restricted sleep” condition compared to the control condition and the “restricted sleep with naps” condition.