I always think that the secret of success when napping is NOT to nap for too long! But there are studies out there that disagree with this.
Taking a timeout to sleep during the day will give you a quick energy boost but the habit also has other health benefits too.
Humans are unlike other mammals in that they usually just sleep once a day but with so many in this modern world being sleep-deprived, regular napping could be a sensible solution. And there should be no guilt involved.
Children benefit from napping too!
The length of the nap
20 Minute Nap – while a short 20-minute power nap does enhance memory, it has a more dramatic effect on mental alertness and motor learning skills.
20 To 30 Minute Nap – this length of nap will typically enhance creativity while at the same time boosting memory.
30 To 60 Minute Nap – this type of nap has an incredibly beneficial impact on your decision-making skills while also improving that part of the memory that is responsible for memorizing things such as instructions, directions and more.
60 To 90 Minute Nap – this length of nap will ensure that you get REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and so be extra beneficial because once you reach REM sleep, it’s almost as if the brain resets itself. Studies have shown that a 60 to 90 minute nap can have a dramatic effect on the brain in terms of problem-solving. However, I have found that having such a long sleep in the daytime makes me feel very groggy and I find it very difficult to wake up properly afterwards.
In many countries, it is customary to have siesta or nap after lunch with, interestingly, nearly all such countries have a very low rate of fatal heart attacks
- unlike countries such as the UK and USA (who do not have a habit of napping) where heart attacks are the leading cause of death.
Apart from being beneficial for heart health, there are 5 other benefits:
- Improved cognitive performance
- Increased alertness
- Improved memory
- Improved relaxation
- Stress reduction
If you are not already doing so, consider having a nap for twenty minutes or more several times a week for your health's sake - and much better than having that strong cup of coffee
to keep you going and going...
Just one word of warning
Getting into the napping habit does not suit everyone.
- Some people find that having a nap in the day means they have difficulty falling asleep at night leading in turn to sleep deprivation.
- Others feel dazed and groggy after having a short nap, making it difficult for them to concentrate.
- Napping is not always possible in the workplace but some employers are starting to have a re-think on this.