A nap is a short period of sleep, typically taken between the hours of 9am and 9pm as an adjunct to the usual nocturnal sleep period. Naps are most often taken as a response to drowsiness during waking hours. A nap is a form of biphasic or polyphasic sleep, where the latter terms also include longer periods of sleep in addition to one single period.
Actually, naps are good for most people, Mednick says. Her research shows a nap—defined as daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. “For some people, napsare as restorative as a whole night of sleep,” she adds.
Napping isn’t for everyone. Some people simply can’t sleep during the day or have trouble sleeping in places other than their own beds, which napping sometimes requires.
Regular, short naps can help lower tension, which decreases your risk of heart disease. Get the most health benefits out of your nap by doing it right. Stick to a regular napping schedule during optimal hours, which are between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. This timeframe is optimal, since that’s usually after lunchtime, when your blood sugar and energy starts to dip. Keep shut-eye short; and nap in a dark room so that you’ll fall asleep faster.
Napping has important health benefits, including:
- Improves Learning And Memory
- Prevents Stress
- Improves mood
- Increases Creativity
- Supports Productivity
- Boosts Alertness
Sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. According to Harvard Medical School, for people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure all through the next day.
Studies show that sleep loss and poor-quality sleep also lead to accidents and injuries on the job. In one study, workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents. They also had more sick days per accident.
A side effect of sleep deprivation is micro sleep. That’s when you’re asleep for only a few seconds or a few minutes, but you don’t realize it. If you’re sleep deprived, micro sleep is out of your control and can be extremely dangerous if you’re driving. It can also make you more prone to injury due to trips and falls. According to theNational Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, insufficient sleep has played a part in tragic accidents involving airplanes, ships, and even nuclear reactor meltdowns.
The following tips may also help you get the most out of it:
- 10-20 minute nap – for a quick recharge
- 60-90 minute nap – for a deeper sleep rejuvenation
- You should be in a slightly sitting position while napping in order to avoid entering a phase of deep sleep