Hatfield psychologist probes day-time sleeping

Professor Richard Wiseman - credit Antje M Pohsegger

Professor Richard Wiseman - credit Antje M Pohsegger - Credit: Archant

The secret of happiness could be having short sleeps during the day, new research by a Hatfield professor suggests.

Professor Richard Wiseman, who lectures psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, probed the effects of sleeping habits on the self-perceived happiness of over 1,000 people.

He said: “Previous research has shown that naps of under 30 minutes make you more focused, productive and creative, and these new findings suggest the tantalising possibility that you can also become happier by just taking a short nap.

“Similarly, longer napping is associated with several health risks and again, this is in line with our results.”

His research subjects classified themselves as either “no nappers”, “short nappers’ (under 30 minutes), and “long nappers” (over 30 minutes).


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The short nappers were the happiest (66 per cent of the group) but the no nappers were close on 60 per cent, with the long nappers trailing on 56 per cent.

The research also revealed that 43 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds take long naps, compared to just 30 per cent people over 50.

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The professor added: “A large body of research shows that short naps boosts performance.

“Many highly successful companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s and Google, have installed dedicated nap spaces, and employees need to wake up to the upside of napping at work.”

He will demonstrate how to get the “perfect nap” at the Edinburgh International Science Festival on Monday, with the help of relaxing music and soothing green projections.

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