Hot summers in Houston can be a source of drained energy for many employees who work outside, especially after a night of poor sleep. However, new research suggest that taking a short nap after lunch can help combat their risk of physical and mental strain that comes from working in the heat.
Published in the journal Occupational Environmental Medicine and shared by The Huffington Post, lead investigator and study author Ken Tokizawa and his colleagues at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in Japan studied 14 healthy men who didn’t have any sleep issues.
Data was collected during four different conditions: after a regular night of sleep with no nap, a normal night of sleep with a 30 minute nap after lunch, after sleeping four hours at night with no afternoon nap and after four hours of sleep with a nap.
To simulate the conditions of working at a construction site, the participants walked in a 95 degree room for 40 minutes twice a day, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. All of the men wore helmets, jackets, boots, and pants to make the testing even more accurate.
During the conditions in which the participants were allowed to nap with after restricted sleep, they were found to have a higher core temperature, higher skin temperature and more sweating after their 40 minute walk in the afternoon. The men also reported being more sleepy and fatigued, with unpleasant feelings in the afternoon hours.
The findings showed that the men with restricted sleep had a higher core temperature and skin temperature, as well as more sweating during the walking period, compared to those who slept normally. However, naps were shown effective in boosting the scores for fatigue and reaction times for both restricted and normal sleepers. Overall, the study points to the effects of napping as more psychological than physiological.
Tokizawa says that falls are a huge risk to safety in the construction industry, and that heat strokes increase the risk of falling for many workers. If you are out in the heat, it is critical that you can 7-9 hours of sleep at night and stay hydrated. Proper rest can even make you feel cooler, so be sure to tuck in earlier tonight!