Eight subjects participated on three occasions in a study investigating the effect of a 30 minute daytime nap opportunity on alertness/sleepiness. The baseline condition was a normal home sleep (7.5 hours, with bedtime at 2300 hours). Sleep during the other two conditions was between 2400 hours and 0400 hours. During one of the two 4-hour conditions, a short nap was allowed (between 1045 hours and 1115 hours). Self-ratings of sleepiness/alertness (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale) were recorded every hour. At 10, 12, and 15 hours, the subjects performed a 28-minute visual vigilance task. Electroencephalograms (EEG) and electrooculograms (EOG) were recorded continuously, including during a 10-minute standardized recording procedure at the beginning of each day. Mean total sleep time during the nap was 19.8 (standard error 2.4) minutes. Compared to baseline, EEG/EOG sleepiness and subjective sleepiness were significantly higher and vigilance performance at 10 hours lower, respectively, after the two short sleeps. The nap brought performance to baseline levels, and subjective sleepiness decreased significantly. It was concluded that the short nap had a clear positive effect on alertness.