Science now has evidence that a nap relieves stress and bolsters the immune system

The Bed, an oversized sculpture by artist Will Ryman, goes on show at The Thinking Big auction exhibition in London. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Many know this to be true from personal experience but science now has evidence to show that napping reverses the effects of poor sleep.

Just a short nap can help relieve stress and bolster the immune systems of men who slept only two hours the previous night, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism .

People who sleep too little are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.

Nearly three in 10 adults reported they slept an average of six hours or less a night, according to surveys.

“Our data suggests a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep,” says one of the study’s authors, Brice Faraut of the Université Paris Descartes-Sorbonne Paris Cité.

This is the first study to find napping can restore biomarkers and immune health to normal levels.

“Napping may offer a way to counter the damaging effects of sleep restriction by helping the immune and neuroendocrine systems to recover,” Faraut says.

“The findings support the development of practical strategies for addressing chronically sleep-deprived populations, such as night and shift workers.”

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