Study: You Should Probably Take a Nap Right Now

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Don't you just love it when science backs up what you instinctively know to be true? (And in this case: what parents of toddlers everywhere know to be fundamental fact of life?)

Take it away, science: Taking a nap will make you less cranky.

In a new study published in a scientific journal called "Personality and Individual Differences," researchers measured the impact that an hour-long nap had on participants' tolerance for frustration and tendency toward impulsive behavior.

After taking a survey about their sleep habits, emotional state, and more, participants in an (admittedly small) sample group of 40 adults ages 18 to 50 were told to either nap or watch nature videos for an hour. Then they were given a computer-based test that included an impossible task. Those who had slept self-reported lower levels of frustration and spent more time on the task before giving up compared with their napless counterparts.

The study's abstract notes:

Because prolonged wakefulness is becoming more common, it is becoming increasingly important to identify effective approaches to decrease resultant cognitive deficiencies ... These results indicate that emotional control may become impaired from wakefulness that builds across the day, and that napping may be an effective countermeasure.

Of particular note for Bay Area residents: This study comes on the heels of a report that indicates San Franciscans get less sleep than residents of any other major metropolitan area. Based on data collected from Bing, we're getting an average of 6.5 hours of shut-eye; for comparison, people in Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, and Boston average just over 8 hours, the lucky bastards.


So! About to bite your significant other's head off? Boss making you want to punch a hole through your cubicle wall? If you can spare an hour, take a deep breath, grab a pillow, find a quiet place, and think sleepy thoughts. If you have the luxury of deciding what type of nap to take, check out this guide to napping for optimal "brain benefits."

Whatever you choose, it's safe to say your body will thank you -- as will everyone you interact with for the rest of the day.