The effects of a 20 min nap in the mid-afternoon on mood, performance and EEG activity

Clin Neurophysiol. 1999 Feb;110(2):272-9. doi: 10.1016/s1388-2457(98)00003-0.


Objective: The aim of the study is to examine the effects of a 20 min nap in the mid-afternoon on mood, performance and EEG activities.

Methods: Seven young adults who had normal sleep-wake habits without habitual daytime napping participated in the study. They underwent Nap and No-nap conditions at intervals of 1 week. After a nocturnal sleep recording (00:00-08:00 h), their EEG recordings during relaxed wakefulness, and their mood, performance and self-ratings of performance level were measured every 20 min from 10:00 to 18:00 h. For the nap condition, they went to bed at 14:00 h and were awakened when 20 min had elapsed from the onset of sleep stage 1. For the No-nap condition, they took a rest without sleep by sitting on a semi-reclining chair.

Results: All of the subjects were awakened from sleep stage 2 during the nap. The 20 min nap improved the subjective sleepiness, performance level and self-confidence of their task performance. The nap also suppressed EEG alpha activity during eyes-open wakefulness.

Conclusions: The results suggest that a short 20 min nap in the mid-afternoon had positive effects upon the maintenance of the daytime vigilance level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors