Napping after complex motor learning enhances juggling performance

Yuko Morita*, Keiko Ogawa, Sunao Uchida

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    The present study examined whether a nap after complex motor learning enhanced the following day's physical performance. Eighteen volunteers met the inclusion criteria and were assigned to either a nap (n=9; men=5; mean age=21.0±1.5) or no-nap group (n=9; men=5; mean age=21.9±0.3). Participants practiced juggling in the morning and were tested immediately afterwards. Participants of the nap group were given a 70-minute nap opportunity after juggling practice, while the no-nap group stayed awake. Juggling performance was then tested in the evening (retest-1) and the next morning (retest-2). Two-way analysis of variance (group: nap, no-nap×time: test, retest-1, retest-2) found there was a significant effect of test time and a significant group×time interaction. The juggling performance of both groups improved from test to retest-1, respectively. However, the juggling performance level of the nap group was higher than that of the no-nap group at the retest-1. As predicted, a nap promptly after learning motor skills was associated with subsequently improved performance. Moreover, the juggling performance of the nap group showed additional significant improvements in the retest-2. In the no-nap group, however, there were no significant improvements in the juggling performance after nocturnal sleep. These results demonstrate that the benefits of a nap following learning were further enhanced after nocturnal sleep. The present results may provide justification for introducing nap periods into daily athletic training as an active method to improve performance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)112-116
    Number of pages5
    JournalSleep Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1


    • Memory consolidation
    • Motor learning
    • Motor skills
    • Nap
    • Sleep

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
    • Medicine (miscellaneous)
    • Behavioral Neuroscience


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