Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Napping, motivation, and emotion

Napping, motivation, and emotion:
What are the motivational and emotional effects of napping?


Napping is a brief sleep that occurs outside of usual sleeping hours. In the past, napping was usually associated with infants and the elderly, however over the recent years more research is being conducted on how people of all ages can benefit from strategic day time naps. There are three categories of napping including restorative napping (restoring sleep loss), prophylactic napping (preventing sleepiness in the future) and appetitive napping (napping for enjoyment) (Duggan et al., 2016). Studies suggest that strategic napping has many benefits such as improving performance and motivation (Hartzler, 2014). This recent research has been adopted by many businesses in hopes of increasing productivity within the workplace. Many businesses around the world have installed either napping rooms or sleeping pods for their employees to nap comfortably and to take advantage of the productivity boost in the workplace. The adoption of strategic napping within the workplace has resulted in a shift in workplace culture surrounding the glorification of "sleepiness" as naps go from being a sign of laziness to a tool for productivity (Mishra, 2009). Practicing good sleep hygiene plays a key role moderating emotional aspects of higher cognitive functions such as conflict resolution, decision making, moral reasoning and recognition of facial expression (KILLGORE, BALKIN and WESENSTEN, 2006). This chapter discusses the motivational and emotional effects of napping and how it relates to the world around us.

Focus questions:

  • What is napping?
  • Why do we nap?
  • What are the benefits of napping?
  • How does napping effect[grammar?] motivation?
  • How does napping effect[grammar?] emotion?

What is napping?Edit

Sleep is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep is made up of multiple physiologically unique stages such as the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) which is further divided into N1, N2, N3 and then rapid eye movement (REM). (Mantua, Spencer, 2017). Sleeping occurs over several hours usually during the night, however, napping is a brief period of sleep that usually occurs throughout the day. Napping is prevalent among a wide demographic of people across different cultures, countries and ages. Napping is most frequent during infancy and toddlerhood, and become less frequent into young adulthood depending on cultural expectations, geographic determinants and employment status (Mantua, Spencer, 2017). After retirement napping becomes more frequent[factual?]. The most commonly recognised classification of napping are split into three categories known as restorative napping, prophylactic and appetitive napping.

Restorative nappingEdit

Figure 1. Woman napping

Restorative napping is when an individual naps due to lack of sleep, in other words, making restoring sleep loss. For an example, napping during the day due to lack of sleep from the night before. Restorative napping is popular amongst new parents, college students and individuals with sleeping disorders.[factual?]

Prophylactic nappingEdit

Prophylactic napping is used to prevent insufficient sleep in the future. For an example, taking a nap before a shift at work to avoid sleepiness during the shift. Prophylactic napping is popular amongst pilots, truck drivers, shift workers and other workers who work outside the usual 9-5 hours. This strategic napping has shown to be effective in reduces the effects of sleepiness (Hartzler, 2014).

Appetitive nappingEdit

Appetitive napping is a category of napping in which an individual naps for the enjoyment or relaxation. Over half of collage[spelling?] students reported they nap for appetitvve[spelling?] reasons in a study about the reasoning behind napping in collage[spelling?] students. Appetitive reasons for napping included "I enjoy napping; it feels good" (59%) and "I feel I do better with a nap; I feel that naps are beneficial" (55%) (Duggan et al., 2016).

Why do we nap?Edit

There are multiple reasons for napping whether its restorative, prophylactic or appetitive napping. As humans grow, reasons for napping change depending on what stage of life they are experiencing (infancy, adulthood or elderly) or their employment status (usual 9-5 workers or shift workers).

Napping in infancy, adulthood and elderlyEdit

[Provide more detail]


During the first years of life is when humans nap the most. Newborns can sleep up to 18 hours a day whereas toddlers usually sleep around 12-14 hours a day. Preschoolers (>2 years old) however sleep around 11-13 hours and don't always nap during the day. After age 5, most children no longer nap during the day. However, research suggests that napping can be beneficial for children of all ages as it improves how memories are encoded and contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as help children regulate their emotions (Konrad and Seehagen, 2021)[Provide more detail].


Although day time naps are usually associated with infants and the elderly, research suggests that adults can also benefit from napping. Adults nap for different reasons depending on employment status, cultural factors and sleep hygiene. Adults who are employed as a shift worker are usually more inclined to take part in day time naps as their work hours are outside the usual 9-5 hours. Naps are also becoming more common within the work place to boost productivity[factual?]. In some cultures it is the norm to take a nap after lunch, such as a "siesta". Adults who have poor sleep hygiene or sleep disorders such as insomnia are also more likely to take day time naps.


As we transition into retirement and our bodies start to slow down, humans tend to nap more. In the past, day time naps have been associated with having negative effects on the quality of nocturnal sleep. However, recent studies suggest that the elderly can benefit from a short nap (under 30 minutes) between 1pm-3pm. The benefits include improving the recovery of attention, concentration and brain function (TANAKA et al., 2002)[Provide more detail].

"Sleepiness" culture in the work placeEdit

Sleeping Pod being used at Universities

Over the recent years, the workplace in western societies have created a culture glorifying 'sleepiness'. Phrases such as 'Lunch is for losers' and 'sleep is for suckers' have encouraged the idea that sleep is not important for overall well-being, which could not be further from the truth (Mishra, 2009).

Workers who are over-worked and not getting the recommended hours of sleep are dangerous and less productive, which increases healthcare costs and corporate liability (Mishra, 2009). In response to these issues, businesses around the world are introducing time and space for employees to nap. Although this raises questions such as "why should someone get paid to sleep on the job?" and "You must be lazy if you sleep on the job"[grammar?]. Resistance to introducing napping in the workplace due to high work demands, workplace culture and resistance to change from employees and employers are all factors contributing to the stigma surrounding napping in the workplace. However, business owners are starting to question whether the benefits of napping outweigh the negatives and therefore introducing it to the workplace. (Alger, Brager and Capaldi, 2019)

Workplace nappingEdit

Businesses around the world are starting to introduce napping in their workplaces. Napping is a cost-efficient way to increase productivity and decrease human error within the workplace. In Australia, firemen, truck drivers and doctors are allowed to take naps during working hours. However, other industries are beginning to install "napping rooms" or "napping pods" within their workplaces to take the productivity advantages of napping. Businesses who are allowing their employees to nap include:[factual?]

  • Ben & Jerry Ice Cream, Vermont: provides make-shift napping rooms for workers
  • Time Warner Inc.: have beds for workers to nap
  • Mac World and PC World: have nap rooms including futons and curtains fro privacy

Sleeping pods are now becoming increasing popular within workplaces as well as schools, universities and airports. These sleeping pods are extremely useful as they are compact, block light and sound, provide privacy and combat the issues arising from napping in workplaces such as whether gender specific nap rooms are necessary (Mishra, 2009).

Shift WorkEdit

Shift Work Diagram

Shift work is is a work schedule that works in rotations. In Australia under the Fair Work Act 2009, an employee is considered a shift worker if their shifts are rostered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Recent studies show that individuals who are classified as a shift worker sleep less and report poorer sleep quality as well as difficulty allotting sleeping time (kogi). Continuous shift work with atypical shifts (other than 9-5 shifts) can result in Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD). SWSD is a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder characterised by insomnia or excessive e sleepiness with with shortened total sleep time that is a result of recurring work schedule that overlaps with an individuals habitual sleep period (Sachdeva, Goldstein 2020). SWSD is a relatively common disorder that has the potential to cause serious medical, scale, economic and quality of life issues (Schwartz and Roth, 2006). Once an individual has a definitive diagnosis of SWSD then treatment is necessary. The most beneficial treatment for SWSD is termination of shift work. If termination of shft work is not possible then the individual may benefit from prescribed sleep scheduling (Sachdeva and Goldstein, 2020).

What are the benefits of napping?Edit

Only recently have researchers considered the idea of naps being beneficial and a associated with a healthy lifestyle (Mantua, Spencer 2017). Depending on cultural and demographic factors, naps have sometimes been associated with laziness and lack of motivation. However, with current research showcasing the benefits of napping, there is less stigma surrounding napping as it is now starting to be used as a tool for productivity.

Some studies suggest that naps with the duration of less than 30 minutes promotes wakefulness and enhances performance and learning ability (Dhand and Sohal, 2007). Planned naps taken during working hours have shown to maintain alertness and job performance (Takahashi, 2003).

Case study

Relationship between afternoon napping and cognitive function in the ageing Chinese population (Cai et al., 2021)

A total of 2214 elderly were split into two groups where they received cognitive evaluations by the Beijing version the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Mini-Mental State Examination, and the Chinese Version of the Neuropsychological Test Battery.

The sample of elderly were split into a napping group (n=1534) and non-napping group (n=680). The sample consisted of individuals over the age of 60 years old with no major physical conditions and no deafness of blindness. Participants with a history of mental disease or other disorders that could affect cognitive functions were excluded.

This study defined an afternoon nap as periods of inactivity for at least five consecutive minutes after lunch outside of usual sleep schedule. Those who didn't self-report a nap were categorised into "non-napping". Individuals who reported naps were then asked further questions such as "on average how often did you take naps during the week?". Participants then took part in screening tests consisting of 30 items that measured cognitive domains such as visual, memory, attention, naming and language.


Cognitive functions were compared. Results showcased that participants from the napping group had better orientation and language function (p=0.020).

How does napping effect[grammar?] motivation?Edit

Motivation is a key element to success as it provides individuals with goals to work towards, helps solve problems and helps change undesirable habits. Business owners strive for motivational employees to ensure the success of their business. Sleep loss is a growing problem within modern society which directly impacts motivation and therefore measures of performance such as reaction time, alertness, decision making and cognitive processing which all impact motivation (Hartzler, 2014). A day time nap as shown to be beneficial for optimal functioning both mentally and physically.

The "Post-lunch dip"Edit

A universal phenomenon known as the "post-lunch dip" describes the decrease in motivation and performance that is usually experienced around 2pm-4pm. The "post-lunch dip" is especially prevalent in the workplace[factual?]. Individuals and businesses suffer from lack of motivation after lunch, therefore, decreased levels in productivity. Evidence suggests that a brief day time nap can help minimise the effects of the "post-lunch dip" as well as improve alertness, mood and task performance (Ru et al., 2022).

Case study

The effects of a 20 minute nap before "post-lunch dip" (HAYASHI and HORI, 1998)

Ten university students aged between 20-22 years old participated in a study to determine the benefits of an afternoon nap. None of the participants were habitual nappers or smokers. The participants were exposed to nap and no nap conditions over one week. Data was then collected using EEG recordings to measure wakefulness, a mood check via visual analog scale and then participants completed computer tasks to measure logical reasoning and performance. The study also consisted of a self-rating task. The results showed that participants in the nap condition showed signs of improved sleepiness and EEG arousal levels when compared to the non-nap condition.

How napping improves job performanceEdit

Truck driver Napping

A 2014 study[factual?] suggests that strategic napping is beneficial for fatigued pilots. Strategic naps is a means of maintaining performance while reducing the individuals[grammar?] sleep debt. Fatigue researchers observed significant performance deficits in the pilots such as problem solving abilities, reasoning abilities and divergent thinking while sleep deprived. The results of the study showed that strategic naps as short as ten minutes held reduce subjective sleepiness, reduce work errors and improve overall neuropsychological performance in their jobs (Hartzler, 2014).

There are studies that suggest naps improve employee performance and productivity[factual?]. The study suggested that the brain uses sleep to restore over-used brain circuits and consolidate the skills learned during the day, [grammar?] it was concluded that even a short nap (>1 hour) improves ones[grammar?] ability to process information. 'Sluggish" employees reported that a 15-30 minute nap revived and refocused them and therefore improving productivity (Mishra, 2009).

Sleepiness in the workplace (Mishra, 2009)

[Use bullet-points]

- Transportation industries reveal that human error is responsible for 90% of accidents due to inadequate sleep

- Lack of sleep is responsible for a fifth of all motor vehicle accidents (8,000 deaths annually)

- 80,000 drivers fall asleep while driving everyday

- Shift workers reported an increase incidence of traffic accidents or near misses on their way home due to sleepiness

How does napping effect[grammar?] emotions?Edit

Figure 4. Bidirectional link between emotions and sleep

Sleep quantity and quality has a significant effect on emotions. However, the relationship between sleep and emotion is bidirectional. Therefore, lack of sleep may negatively alter an individuals[grammar?] well-being which has the potential effect[grammar?] ones[grammar?] emotions which can then lead to compromised sleep (Kahn, Sheppes and Sadeh, 2013)[grammar?]

Lack of sleep has [missing something?] shown to disturb how humans regulate their emotions. A study showcased this by restricting participants to five hours of sleep per night for one week. After one week of sleep restriction, it resulted in sub-scale scores for fatigue, confusion, tension and total mood disturbance ("Cumulative Sleepiness, Mood Disturbance, and Psychomotor Vigilance Performance Decrements During a Week of Sleep Restricted to 4–5 Hours per Night", 1997). A similar, self-report study also showcased that sleepiness was related to greater negative moods amounts collage[spelling?] students (Campos-Morales et al., 2005).

Having a healthy amount of sleep plays a vital role in moderating emotional aspects of higher cognitive functions. These higher cognitive functions include conflict resolution, decision making, moral reasoning and recognition of facial expressions.

Lack of sleep reduces regional cerebral metabolism within the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for judgement and decision making. A 2006 study conducted in America hypothesised that two nights of sleep deprivation would alter decision making quality which may result in risk-taking behaviour. This study used the Iwo Gambling Task (IGT) which mimics real-world decision making to determine the effects. The results of the study showcased that the sleep-deprived individuals were more likely to take more risks than those with adequate amounts of sleep (KILLGORE, BALKIN and WESENSTEN, 2006).

It has been argued that not only does sleep deprivation impact an individual's ability to regulate emotions, it also impairs the ability to read other individuals[grammar?] emotions using facial emotions (van der Helm, Gujar and Walker, 2010). This has been showcased in the case study below:

Case study

Sleep Deprivation Impairs the Accurate Recognition of Human Emotions (van der Helm, Gujar and Walker, 2010)

This case study investigates the impact sleep deprivation has on the ability to recognise human facial emotions. This study used a randomised sample split into to categories (sleep deprived and sleep rested conditions) involving between-group and within-group repeated measures analysis. The participants consisted of thirty-seven healthy participants including 21 females aged between 18-25 years old that were all randomly assigned to the sleeping control or sleep deprivation group.

Participants performed an emotional face recognition task where they evaluated three different face categories including sad, happy and angry. The evaluation was a gradient ranging from neutral to increasingly emotional.

The results showed that sleep deprivation selectively impairs the accurate judgement of the human facial emotions. While sleep-deprived, participants impairment was significant in threat relevant (anger) and reward relevant (happy) categories.


This chapter discussed the difference between the three categories of napping (restorative, prophylactic and appetitive) and how reasoning for napping changes throughout peoples[grammar?] lives depending on age or employment status. The importance of sleep is also outlined and how lack of sleep can lead to issues surrounding individuals motivation and emotions. Lack of sleep can lead to lack of motivation (Hartzler, 2014) and emotional turbulence (Kahn, Sheppes and Sadeh, 2013). However, not all individuals are able to gain adequate amounts of sleep at night, so therefore nap during the day to restore sleep debt. The importance of adequate sleep is being recognised within businesses who are recently starting to encourage naps during work hours to boost productivity after "post-lunch dip" (Mishra, 2009). These studies mentioned throughout the chapter are a great start to encourage individuals and businesses to prioritise sleep hygiene as well as the benefit of napping. There is still more research to be done, especially surrounding adolescents in high school and the importance of strategic napping.


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