It’s no secret that Americans are chronically underslept. We don’t get enough sleep, and then our society will drink 400 million cups of coffee a day to make up for it. But caffeine may not be the best solution to our sleepiness problem. Instead, we should all be taking naps!
The following are specified details as to how, when, and why should we take naps:
The Power Nap
Stage 1 (5-10 mins): Drifting in and out of sleep.
Stage 2 (20 mins): Light sleep
Enhances alertness and concentration; lifts mood and sharpens motor skills.
Jumping right back into your daily routine.
Drink a cup of coffee before you nap since caffeine takes 20-30 minutes to take effect. It will kick in just as you wake up.
If you go to bed at midnight, your best nap time is 2:30 pm. If you go to bed at 10 pm, your best nap time is 1:30 pm.
The Improved Nap
Stage 1: Drifting in and out of sleep
Stage 2: Light sleep, where dreams are simple and short.
This longer nap can enhance creativity and boost sensory processing.
Boosting energy before a meeting or before brainstorming or doing collaborative work.
To avoid falling into deep sleep, lie with your body slightly upward at an incline.
Sleep for either 20 mins or 4 mins as waking in the middle of a cycle can result in grogginess that can last up to an hour.
The Slow-Wave Sleep Nap
Stages 3 &4: Transitioning from light to deep stage. Muscles relax, and we become harder to wake.
Boosts cognitive memory processing, and recall of facts, directions, faces, and names.
Best before a big presentation, important meeting, or exam.
Try to nap with very dim or dark lighting to help stimulate melatonin – the hormone responsible for feeling rested.
Like other mammals, we are programmed to sleep two times a day but have consolidated sleep into one long period.
The Full Sleep Cycle Nap
Stages 1-5: Includes REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which activates the brain, allowing memorable dreams to occur.
Boosts creativity, emotional memory, procedural memory, accuracy perception and motor skills.
Best before a conference, exam week, a big presentation, or anytime you need to be at the top of your game for an extended period of time.
Make sure your environment is optimal to promote long sleep. The ideal temperature is 60-68 degrees. Wear earplugs if noise could be a potential problem.
A long nap includes a full sleep cycle and limits grogginess by waking from REM sleep. The sleep cycle takes about 90mins and cycles about four times per night.
MORE BENEFITS OF TAKING A NAP
Provides a memory boost
A quick nap can replenish your brain’s batteries and improve your memory’s recall and information retention by 200%. You can think of the burst of energy in the “sleep spindles” like the flashes from a camera’s flashbulb – they sharply illuminate the information you’ve just learned and imprint it on the film of your mind.
Lowers blood pressure
Sleeping 45 minutes to one hour during the day can lower blood pressure, reduce the chance of a stroke or heart attack, and decrease the number of drugs people have to take to control hypertension. And the longer you snooze, the better the effects.
We’ve all had restless nights, but not many people know that losing sleep can cause damage to yourself, which is a big part of why you feel so crappy the day after not getting much sleep. However, even a short nap can help you feel more alert and less sleepy, even if you didn’t catch much sleep the previous night.
Improves your mood
When we don’t get enough sleep, we can become anxious, irritable, depressed, overwhelmed, and easily distracted. Napping “bathes” your brain in serotonin, reversing those effects and enhance your sense of well-being, giving you more capacity to interact graciously with others.
The mind loves a nap. Napping can improve your sensory perception as efficiently as a night of sleep. Napping also improves your creativity by allowing the brain’s right hemisphere to engage in specified key “housecleaning” tasks, such as memory consolidation.
After reading this, do you believe now that a good nap can change your lives?