It's Nap Time! Why Getting Some ZZZ's During the Day Can Make You Feel Better
Napping could be considered by some, as a lazy man's prerogative. Actually though, it can recharge you by boosting your memory, enhancing your energy level, helping your brain function and boosting creativity. You might be wondering if this is actually for real. Yes, it is for real. Many of us live lives that are fast paced and full of work and family obligations. No matter whether the obligations are for children or an ageing parent. Constant deadlines have to be met, and then you have to squeeze in playtime.
Feeling the Lack of Sleep
I know that I can relate to feeling that lack of sleep just because I have children. Young children are notorious for climbing into mom and dad's bed or crying at night because they have woken up due to a cold or the flu. Some struggle with sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop breathing and thus waking you up just as you were slipping into a deep and much needed sleep. Others are insomniacs and just can't stop their brain from thinking on and on and on, until it drives you up the wall. Another condition that can hinder sleep that I struggle with first-hand is restless leg syndrome. It is a condition where it feels as though your legs are alive and have a mind of their own. They want to stay awake while you want to fall asleep. It feels as if you need to flex your legs or as if they are crawling with something on the inside. Very irritating indeed! Sleep is much more valuable than we often give it credit and without it you feel downright lousy, which makes napping during the day so appealing.
In order to perform your best, no matter what you are doing, you can choose to power nap or take a long leisurely nap in the afternoon. Either way, you are reaping the benefits.
The Power Nap (20-30 minutes)
A power nap is classified as taking a 20 minute sleep. The pros of taking this type of nap are that it will boost your performance for hands-on skills, such as typing or playing the piano. The cons to taking a power nap may be that you might need a longer nap and still feel tired upon waking at first, until your body gets moving again.
The Longer Nap aka Slow Wave Sleep (30-60 minutes)
The longer nap induces you into a slow wave sleep. The pros of the longer nap include boosting memory function, good for decision making, memorizing vocabulary or remembering directions. The cons of taking the slow wave nap are that it might be too long and you may awaken feeling groggy.
The Longest Nap aka REM Sleep (60-90 minutes)
The longest nap, when you really feel drained and feel as if you could sleep for days on end, slips you into the deep REM sleep. The benefits of slipping into an REM sleep are that the brain will make new connections and problem solving is enhanced. The cons of taking longest REM nap are that you may not fall asleep again that night.
According to Sara C. Mednick, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. "You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping," she says. "You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That's what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost."
Citied from: Power Naps: Napping Benefits, Length, and Tips, http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps
Top Notch Napping Tips
- Keep a regular napping regime. By getting your body used to napping at a certain time each day, you will fall asleep quickly and awaken around the same time each nap. The best time to take a nap without interrupting your night sleep routine is from 1pm-3pm.
- Stay warm enough. Go to sleep in your bed under the covers or where you are comfortable and can actually fall asleep.
- Keep it dark. By closing the curtains or blinds and dimming the room, you will be able to fall asleep quicker.
- Make it quick. If you are pressed for time, make it quick, set your alarm to get you up in 30 minutes.
Not getting enough sleep can give you so many struggles in life!
- poor memory,
- short tempered,
- blurred vision and sore, dry eyes
- weakened immune system, which could include a weakened heart, high blood pressure, and/or stroke, amongst many other ailments
- impaired coordination
It is so important to get enough sleep for your health and well-being. It can be easy to become ensnared in the cycle of getting only a few hours of sleep at night in order to get everything you wanted to do done. Just be sure to catch up when you have a chance, you will feel better for it!