Napping versus Resting: Effects on Performance and Mood


  • This research was funded in part by a grant from the Technology and Society Research Division of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Texas A&M University System.

Address requests for reprints to: Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843.


In order to determine the effects of napping and resting on mood and performance for nappers and nonnappers, 48 habitual nappers and 46 habitual nonnappers were randomly assigned to take a nap, to rest in bed without falling asleep, or to watch a neutral videotape (control group). Measurements were obtained from a 10-min auditory reaction time task, a 10-min addition task, and three self-report mood measures 15 min before and after each condition. Subjects in the nap and rest conditions had electrodes attached for recording EEG, EOG, and EMG during the hour-long treatments. Results showed that napping and resting served to improve mood regardless of whether a person habitually naps or not. Sleep itself may not be crucial in improving mood; what may be more important is the period of relaxation common to napping and resting in bed. Overall, performance measures were not affected by either napping or resting.