Taking a nap could make you a better runner, but only if you fall into this category

does an afternoon nap make you run stronger?

Sleeping your way to a PB sounds pretty perfect doesn’t it, yet whilst there have been plenty of studies into how sleeping can aid recovery, afternoon naps are a relatively new area of research.

Related: The importance of pre-race sleep 

In a new study, published in the European Journal of Sport Science, researchers looked to determine the influence an afternoon nap had on the endurance performance of trained runners.

Researchers used eleven trained male runners to study the effects of an afternoon nap. On two occasions, runners completed a treadmill run for 30 minutes at 75% VO2 max in the morning, returning to run later in the day for 20 minutes at 60% VO2 max, then to exhaustion at 90% VO2 max.

On one of the trials, the runners had a 20 minute afternoon nap approximately 90 minutes before the evening exercise, whilst on the other, they did not. Yet, researchers found that only some of the runners’ time to exhaustion was improved post-nap.

Researchers concluded that those runners whose endurance had improved post-nap slept for less time at night – less than seven hours. Whilst the study has its limitations (only using a small group of male runners), it suggests you shouldn’t go napping on your lunchbreak if you’ve had a solid eight hours at night.