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P022 An investigation into the effects of a 20-minute nap-opportunity on cognitive function in students aged 18–30
  1. Suraiya Haddad1,
  2. Rezwana Rahman1,
  3. Felyx Wong1,
  4. W Jackson1 and
  5. Mary Morrell1,2
  1. 1Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Academic Unit of Sleep and Ventilation, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Royal Brompton and Harefield National Health Service Foundation Trust


Introduction Sleep-deprivation is increasing in prevalence and compensatory napping is becoming common practice. Little is known about the cognitive benefits derived from a nap in sleep-deprived individuals, or within the student population. Furthermore, few studies have investigated the cognitive benefits of napping using the incongruent Stroop test. This study aimed to investigate the effects of a nap-opportunity on cognitive function in individuals aged 18–30.

Methods A randomised, crossover study was conducted. Participants were recruited from Imperial College London and were allocated to either control (no nap-opportunity) or intervention (20-minute nap-opportunity) groups.

The incongruent Stroop test was used to measure reaction time (RT) and percentage accuracy, which were used as markers of cognitive function. ΔRT and Δ percentage accuracy, between control and nap-opportunity groups were compared. Paired and unpaired t-tests were used for the analysis of RT. Wilcoxon signed-rank and Mann-Whitney-U tests were used to test the percentage accuracy. The study was approved by the Imperial College Medical Education Ethics Committee.

Results Participants (n=29) had a mean age of 20 (SD±1.4) years, 55% male. In those who were acutely sleep-deprived, the RT improved in the intervention group following a 20-minute nap-opportunity, compared to the control group (p=0.01; figure 1). Overall, no significant difference in Δ percentage accuracy was observed between the control and nap-opportunity groups (p=0.31).

Abstract P022 Figure 1

Dot plot showing reaction times in incongruent Stroop test, measured before and after a 20 minute nap-opportunity in individuals who slept for <8hrs the night before the test (n=18) and =8hrs the night before the test (n=11). Data presented as mean ±95% CI. Paired t-test was used to compare reaction times before and after nap-opportunity. Unpaired t-tests were used to compare baselines and endpoints of the two groups. Significant change in reaction time was observed following nap-opportunity in individuals who slept<8 Hours before the test day (p=0.01275) *=P<0.05, **=P<0.01, ***=P<0.001

Conclusions The main finding of this study was that the sleep-deprived group derive greater benefit in cognitive function from a 20-minute nap-opportunity. Future studies could investigate the relationship between the amount of sleep-deprivation and the magnitude of benefit derived from a nap-opportunity. Moreover, the impact of napping in individuals who are chronically sleep-deprived should also be explored.

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