While the impact of sleep on cognitive functions such as memory is under extensive study, the role of sleep in modulating a persons' subjective well-being remains largely uncharacterized, especially in groups with psychiatric disorders. To gather more information on this topic a study was conducted with 20 patients suffering from Major Depression (MD) and 20 healthy controls, matched for age, gender and education. All subjects rated their subjective well-being at 10a.m. in the morning. Half of the subjects in each experimental group were given the opportunity to nap in the afternoon between 2p.m. and 3.30p.m., while the other half stayed awake accompanied by controlled activity. All subjects rated their subjective well-being again at 4p.m. Only the group of patients with MD who were given the opportunity to sleep during the day showed a significant improvement in subjective well-being from morning to afternoon. All the other subgroups showed no significant changes across the time interval. The results of this study suggest that depressive patients benefit from daytime naps with regard to their subjective well-being. Further research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms of this improvement.
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