Time For A Nap
Your eyelids are getting heavy and you are starting to feel restless and drained. You look at the clock. Yup, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon. The time when all you want to do is go to sleep; a perfect time for a nap.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center, one-third of U.S. adults nap on a typical day.
“It is an important activity to be involved in the middle of the day,” says psychologist Dr. Gary L. Goldberg. “A lot of physiological changes prefer our body to take a nap.“
These physiological changes provide evidence to the testament our body is getting ready for a nap in the middle of the day and that is why the initial 2:30 drowsy feeling overcomes you.
“Researchers concluded that when you go to sleep there is a drop in body temperature,” says Goldberg, the 30-year psychology veteran. “In the afternoon this happens, which is readiness to take a nap.”
There are many benefits to taking a small nap during the middle of the day, like more energy and productiveness. However there can be negative drawbacks, like waking up and feeling even more tired than when you went to sleep. So, how do you counteract the negative? By taking the perfect duration of nap that will give you the energy you need, without feeling groggy after.
“The key is to not let it last 45 minutes,” says Goldberg. “After that, you go into deep sleep stages of three and four and, for most people, if you are woken up in these stages you will feel groggy.”
As Goldberg explained, stage one and two (which you are experiencing in about the first 30 minutes of sleep) are the lighter stages of sleep. For the first stage, a person becomes drowsy and in a relaxed state, kind of like they are experiencing a situation like daydreaming. For the second stage, a person becomes more detached from the outside world, but can also be easily awakened. Being in these two stages will give you that power nap you need to carry on with your day. The key is to be careful about the amount of time you nap.
“Even naps as short as 10 minutes are very helpful,” says Goldberg. “It enhances alertness and mental awareness.”
In fact, some companies even encourage you to hit the snooze button on your body during a typical work day.
There have been further reports of companies allowing nap-time pods at work to increase productivity. BusinessWeek reports that companies like Nike and Google are participating in napping activities to help increase productivity and creativeness.
“It enhances the cerebral cortex,” says Goldberg about mid-day naps. “Memory, decision making and problem solving increase and you get a feeling of energy and vitality.”
There you go, now you have a case for your boss to grab some midday zz’s; a more productive and creative you.