back to article If you want a big brain, make a habit out of daytime naps

If you're working from home and there's been a lull in things to do, why not take a nap? Heck, even if you're in the office, find a nice quiet corner and close your eyes for 20 minutes because we have good news. Scientists from UCL and the University of the Republic in Uruguay have found that daytime napping may actually help …

  1. bryces666

    sending this to my boss

    I often feel so sleepy after lunch I need to sneak off and nap, maybe now they can put aside a room with a cot rather than a dark closet beside the mops I snooze in. It's for the companies and my benefit also clearly. (Living in hope)

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge


    Old news to cats.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My family have never been big nappers, but my in-laws would nap all day if they could - bear in mind they obsess about sleep and go on about never having slept well at night (I blame napping during the day)

    I think that sleep is when the brain does it's "defragging", "de-caching" and general junk clearing. (Dreams are the memory fragments going through the keep/discard system and that's why the stories are so mixed up. It is also why dreams often get forgotten some time after waking up.)

    So maybe a nap helps tidy the the brain up a bit and hence advocates feel better and more productive.

    Anon - because this is idle speculation and probably complete bollocks.

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Depends...

      Isn’t Bootnotes exactly the place for idle speculation and complete bollocks?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Correction : Isn’t Bootnotes the Internet exactly the place for idle speculation and complete bollocks?


    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Depends...

      I believe the brain and body benefit greatly from the time asleep.

      Learning gets set in place and repair happens.

      If you are feeling a bit noddy around 2PM then your body is signalling what it needs. I even avoid driving at this time of day.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Depends...

      >but my in-laws would nap all day if they could

      That's the advantage of being raised by cats

  4. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Cause and Effect

    So is this really a case of napping helping brains to stay large, or is it because people with big brains need more naps?

    1. Bill Gray

      Re: Cause and Effect

      My favorite example of cause/effect confusion :

    2. jgarbo

      Re: Cause and Effect

      Have we established that bigger brains are smarter? Neanderthals had bigger brains than we have, Where are they? ;-)

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Cause and Effect

        Maybe they were smarter but less aggressive.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cause and Effect

        I'm here - and yes, I am smarter than you :)

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Cause and Effect

          Nice to see an elephant with a brain almost three times the size of ours, posting anonymously on El Reg!

          1. Pierre 1970

            Re: Cause and Effect

            or penguins!!!

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Cause and Effect

        >Neanderthals had bigger brains than we have, Where are they

        Napping ?

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Cause and Effect

      The physiological changes, kindly described for you in the article, clearly indicate the direction of causality. This paper is far from the only evidence for the benefits of daytime rest periods.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cause and Effect

        "evidence for the benefits of daytime rest periods."

        F**ing is very good too during a daytime rest period.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cause and Effect

          But perhaps a little harder to do at work than taking a quick nap - at least in the office.

          Hmm, now working from home ...

  5. ThomH

    My child is 20 months old

    So I'm now 20 months into my habit of requiring daytime naps.

  6. dadbot5000

    Normalize napping now!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny, this seems like "the alcohol story": Every few months an article comes out saying "Study XYZ found that a glass of wine a day is good for you." About a week later there'll be another story "Some random organization did a study that says any amount of alcohol is bad."

    I've now seen this same phenomenon with regard to naps; One day it's the source of everything good in the universe, the next it's the quickest way to dementia, not to mention an indicator of depression.

    And let's not get started on the subject of diurnal sleep.

    And similarly, the "discussion" on WFO vs onsite vs hybrid. Industry wonks write a story and "Everyone wants to go back into the office! Really!" Worker reps point out there's no point going into an office when all meetings are done online anyway. Guess who the company leaders listen to?

    Apropos of nothing, I'm just crotchety today.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      That's why you have to take a scientific approach to analysing research publications

      By only reading those who support red wine, cheese, coffee, chocolate, naps etc you can live a much longer happier life - or at least believing you will while living an actual happier life

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > And let's not get started on the subject of diurnal sleep.

      I read that as "urinal"...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about coffee naps?

  9. Death Boffin

    Sleep and lasagna

    Seems a bit of nomitive determinism here that the lead researcher here is named Garfield.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I’m retired

    My brain is H. U. G. E.

  11. trindflo Bronze badge

    Any data from Italy?

    I understand much of the population in Italy tend to take long lunches that end up in bed. Any national reporting of swollen heads there?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Any data from Italy?

      > Any data from Italy?

      Well, in all those sweltering hot countries there is not much you can do in the hottest hours of the day (especially before the invention of air conditioning), but you can profit from the cooler evening hours, so a part of the night's sleep is simply transferred to those otherwise unusable mid day hours. I call that optimization, even if I'm one of those unfortunate who can't really take mid day naps.

  12. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Old News

    I already nap in the rear of my truck (Except when it gets below -20C). at lunchtimes.

    Last Fridays seems to have given me a big inflamed gall bladder instead, so it's being removed tomorrow.

    1. Filippo Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Old News

      I'm pretty sure that taking a nap in the truck (instead of driving while sleepy) is going to have a statistically significant benefit on your life expectancy - and of other people on the road, too. Thanks for doing that.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Old News

        But all the other firefighters complain

    2. trindflo Bronze badge

      Re: Old News

      I'm torn. I want to upvote your naps, but not your destroyed gall bladder.

  13. PhilipN Silver badge

    Doesn't work

    I often crash out in the middle of the day after an early start and my 8-hour sleep cycle is compressed into 45 minutes, including one or even two rounds of deep sleep (I wear a sensor). I wake up feeling like **** for a couple of hours even with coffee.

    Show me how to Power Nap for 5 minutes.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't work

      Set your smartphone alarm for five minutes and close your eyes.

      Except you need to to get up when it rings, not just shut it off and stay there.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't work

        > Set your smartphone alarm for five minutes and close your eyes.

        Won't work for me. I'll be still awake after those 5 (or even 10) minutes.

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't work

      Same for me, which is why I nap for 5 to max 20 minutes. Sleeping for 30 to 90 minutes leaves me feeling like crap and screws up my following night. Just guesstimate how long it'll take you to fall asleep, and set an alarm clock for 10 minutes longer than that.

      A neat trick is to have a shot of espresso immediately before lying down. The caffeine takes about 10 minutes to do its job, which lines up well with waking from the power nap.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't work

      >Show me how to Power Nap for 5 minutes.

      I can teach you how to PowerPoint nap for 45-60 minutes

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sanity check

    This has been known for many decades. What the latest study does is to add some numbers to the evidence base.

    Back in the '70s it was known as power-napping.

    I once worked in GCHQ. When they built the doughnut they set aside a quiet room for rest and meditation. As a contractor I had to have special dispensation to use it, on condition I did not charge for time spent there. As I suffered from migraines (since cured), I used it quite a bit. Every couple of years, some shithead staffer would try to get the dirty skyving contractor sacked and got slapped down. I also took to power-napping, and the odd fellow staffer and/or contractor picked up on it too. OMG I may have just breached the OSA. Hey guys, you need a warrant signed by Pretty Prattle before you can trace my IP.

  15. Filippo Silver badge

    I have a few doubts on this. I'm not sure whether I'm misunderstanding the article.

    It sounds like they haven't actually monitored anyone's sleep. They've used a big DNA data bank to identify people who have genes that are related to napping, and then found that the same people have statistically larger brains.

    Nothing wrong with that, but then they go on to conclude that napping causes bigger brains?

    That sounds like a bad attempt to imply causation from mere correlation. What if bigger brains cause naps?

    Also, they say they do this to get rid of confounding factors, but what if they are getting rid of the actual causation instead? I.e., what if nap genes cause bigger brains even in people who don't actually nap? I mean, you already know that those genes have a neurological effect; isn't that an easier explanation?

    And that's without even getting into brain size alone being a poor proxy variable for, well, anything.

    Basically, I really see no reason to suggest taking naps for brain health. We'll need more and different studies before we can say that.

  16. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    I used to work for an ISP, and a colleague in Business Sales was found napping under his desk by his manager one afternoon. The manager was a bit miffed, so Boydy, we'll call him that, because that's what we called him, unlocked his computer, showed his manager his tracking spreadsheet where he'd already aced his sales targets, and his manager just said 'Oh, sorry for disturbing you' and left.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: The perfect nap

      > an alarm (a gentle one) at 20 minutes

      In this case I'll lie there, wide awake, till the 18th minute, at which point I will start dozing off...

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