Power naps for insomniacs

January 23, 2015
Power naps for insomniacs
Flinders researchers are investigating whether power naps can cure insomnia. Credit: Shutterstock

Daytime naps may hold the key to treating insomnia, Flinders University researchers believe.

In a world-first study, Flinders Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Nicole Lovato is recruiting patients to test the role of brief daytime sleeps as an adjunct to improve the success of therapy, a main behavioural treatment for insomnia.

While sleep restriction is highly effective, Dr Lovato said many insomniacs struggle to adhere to the therapy due to significant daytime sleepiness.

"Sleep restriction therapy limits the time an insomniac is allowed to spend in bed to the time they report sleeping for," Dr Lovato, based at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, said.

"Some insomniacs, for example, may be in bed for nine hours but report only sleeping for six so their time in bed will be restricted to six hours. This restriction of time in bed builds up their homeostatic need for sleep and helps them sleep across the night," she said.

"Even though we know this treatment works very well, a lot of patients feel so sleepy that they find it difficult to adhere to their new bedtime, which is often much later than the time they normally go to .

"We're hoping that daytime napping will make it easier for patients to adhere to their bedtime and get through the day while they're undertaking sleep restriction therapy."

As part of the study, eligible participants will be required to nap for no more than 20 minutes in the afternoon, before 5pm.

Unlike hour-long afternoon naps which can interfere with night-time sleep, Dr Lovato said short 20-minute sleeps result in immediate, short-term benefits that do not impact on sleep at night.

She said it is hoped the findings will uncover a new drug-free adjunct treatment to behavioural therapy.

"As can significantly impair daytime function and is associated with psychological effects such as depression and anxiety, anything we can do to improve treatments, especially non-drug treatments, is something we should focus on."

Explore further: Importance of adequate sleep

More information: People aged 18-85 who are interested in participating in the study can email: sleep@flinders.edu.au

Related Stories

Importance of adequate sleep

November 25, 2014
Catching the appropriate number of z's each night is important.

Less sleep may be answer to beating bedtime blues

May 8, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Restricting the amount of time a child spends in bed could lower levels of sleep-related stress and anxiety, a Flinders University researcher believes.

Does sleep really shorten when we get older?

December 2, 2014
As we age, the quality of our sleep gets gradually worse. People who were able to sleep deeply all night in their twenties become increasingly likely to wake up in the night in their forties. This is a common change to sleeping ...

How to get a great night's sleep: Could less mean more?

February 14, 2013
If you regularly struggle to fall asleep, it might be better to try and restrict rather than extend the amount of time you spend in bed.

Flinders sleep experts try new tactic to fight fatigue

August 28, 2014
In a world-first, sleep experts from Flinders University are attempting to fight fatigue caused by insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) by treating the two conditions at the same time.

Pills no answer to insomnia

August 9, 2012
Sleeping tablets are “counter-productive” and offer no real benefit in treating insomnia, Flinders University sleep expert Leon Lack says.

Recommended for you

Dog ownership linked to lower mortality

November 17, 2017
A team of Swedish scientists have used national registries of more than 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 to 80 to study the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health. Their study shows that dog owners had a lower ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.