A person should sleep a day not once, but at least twice. This conclusion, based on the experience of many nations, is now physiologists.
Which of us does not at times embrace a passionate desire to take a nap at the desk, and better in more comfortable conditions? Scientists have shown that a short break in sleep in the middle of the day increases the ability to concentrate and labor productivity. In Japan, then in Europe, and now in the US, many firms are introducing a daily break for sleep. So, in the German town of Vechta, near Hamburg, employees of the municipality can sleep for 20 minutes a day if they wish. The mayor’s office does not have money to hire additional employees, so it was decided in this way to increase the efficiency of existing labor.
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Psychologist David Dindzhes from the National Institute of Space Biomedicine (USA) studied 90 healthy young people who were asked to sleep for two weeks in unusual modes. Their sleep was divided into a night span of 4 to 8 hours and a day length of 15 minutes to 2 hours. During the period of wakefulness, the experiment participants were subjected to various psycho–physiological tests. Conclusion: the most favorable for the state of health and working condition is a long (two–hour) sleep in the middle of the day and a short (by our usual standards) four–hour night sleep. The experiment was carried out in the interests of astronauts who are deprived in orbit of the normal mode of changing the light, so you have to establish an artificial order of changing the “day” and “night” and choose the most advantageous to work.
But, according to French physiologist Jean–Louis Wal, president of the National Association for the Study of Sleep, this is true for earthly conditions. We have to sleep twice a day. If we measure a person’s temperature around the clock, we find that it has two minima: between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning the body temperature drops significantly, and between 13 and 15 o’clock it drops slightly. Here at this time and want to sleep.
American physiologist Sarah Mednick studied the influence of daytime sleep on the visual abilities of 130 students. She found that the speed of visual reaction (the time for which a person understands what is written on the computer screen) is 10 milliseconds in the morning and 40 in the evening. But if the subject slept in the afternoon, by the evening he perceives the information as quickly as in the morning. True, you need to sleep as it should: from an hour to one and a half, and it is desirable to have dreams at the same time (then the information is not only better perceived, but also better remembered). However, not all experts recommend such a long siesta. They emphasize that after a long nap, a person often becomes either irritable or lethargic.
Thus, the French anthropologist Philip Cabon studied the dream of ten crews of transatlantic airliners. In each crew there are two pilots: one is resting, the other is sitting at the helm. During the experiment, the pilots were allowed to sleep for 45 minutes. Night flights are so tiring that many pilots have time for 45 minutes to fall into a deep stage of sleep. Tests performed upon awakening showed that a newly awakened pilot could hardly be trusted with a complicated maneuver, such as an emergency landing. Therefore, the French airline was given a recommendation: the rest of the pilot should not sleep for more than 40 minutes. In other experiments it was shown that the psycho–physiological characteristics are restored after a ten–minute sleep no worse than after half an hour.
So how much should you sleep during the day – ten minutes, half an hour, forty minutes or an hour and a half? The problem is that different tests use different tests, says Philip Cabon. And the tasks offered to the subjects are often very different from those that they have to solve in the specific conditions of work in the profession. For example, pilots should be offered other tests than clerical employees.