It's 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, your classes are over for the day and your dorm room is empty. What do you do? If your answer is "take a nap," you probably shouldn't feel so guilty for putting that homework on hold.
The journal Personality and Individual Differences recently published a study from the University of Michigan titled "Napping to modulate frustration and impulse control," which, as its name suggests, found that quick naps can help adults control frustration. Researchers brought 40 participants into a lab to complete a series of irritating tasks, such as carefully drawing geometric shapes by hand. When they finished up, some participants got to take an hourlong nap, while others had to stay awake.
They then had to repeat the drawing task. The well-rested participants endured through the tedious exercise for nearly twice as long as the documentary watchers did. So if you think about it, putting off that homework in favor of an afternoon siesta may actually make you perform better when you get around to it later in the day.
"Results revealed that nappers showed a decrease in self-reported impulsivity and increased tolerance for frustration, while those in the no-nap condition showed the opposite pattern," the researchers concluded. "These results indicate that emotional control may become impaired from wakefulness that builds across the day, and that napping may be an effective countermeasure."
This is one of the first studies of its kind, though, so it may still be a bit premature to tell your teachers that you need a time-out for your afternoon nap. But hey, it's still encouraging news for those of us who can't help but curl up for a bit when that after-lunch slump hits.