Habitual napping moderates motor performance improvements following a short daytime nap

Biol Psychol. 2006 Aug;73(2):141-56. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.01.015. Epub 2006 Mar 15.


The effect of napping on motor performance was examined in habitual and non-habitual nappers who were randomly assigned to a nap or reading condition. Motor procedural learning and auditory discrimination tasks were administered pre- and post-condition. Both groups reported improved alertness post-nap, but not post-reading. Non-habitual nappers fell asleep faster and tended to have greater sleep efficiency, but did not differ from habitual nappers on other sleep architecture variables. Habitual nappers had greater alpha and theta EEG power in stage 1, and greater delta, alpha and sigma power in stage 2 sleep. Motor performance deteriorated for non-habitual nappers who napped, but improved for all others. The number of sleep spindles and sigma power (13.5-15 Hz) significantly predicted motor performance following the nap, for habitual nappers only. Results indicate that motor learning was consolidated in a brief nap and was associated with stage 2 spindles, but only for those who habitually take naps.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Reading
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Theta Rhythm
  • Wakefulness / physiology