Power Naps and Their Surprising Health Benefits
Having a short nap is extremely beneficial for your overall health. By taking some time to sleep during the day, you will refresh and rejuvenate your body, boost your energy levels, and improve your cognitive function. Unlike 85% of all mammalian species, humans sleep only once a day.
The scientists aren’t certain if we are naturally monophasic creatures (ones that sleep once a day) or polyphasic (ones that sleep more than once a day). Either way, according to the symptoms that our bodies are showing, the majority of us aren’t getting enough sleep.
So, in case you are in a sleep deficit, you should consider including some power naps in your daily routine.
What Is a Power Nap?
- Power naps are sleep sessions that take place during the day between 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Their duration should be between 10 and 30 minutes because if they last for a longer period of time, you will be exposed to the risk of developing sleep inertia, a physiological state characterized by feelings of grogginess that appear immediately after abrupt awakening.
- According to the experts, power naps can maximize your performance, restore your alertness, and decrease the potential accidents and mistakes you can make. However, you should make sure you don’t sleep more than 30 minutes because, otherwise, you are likely to wake up even more tired than before falling asleep.
- Also, you shouldn’t sleep after 4:00 because this can disrupt your regular nighttime sleep pattern.
What Are the Health Benefits of Power Naps?
Taking a nap during the daytime will help you to improve your mental alertness, memory, physical performance, learning ability, creativity, as well as sensory perception. Sara C. Mednick, Ph.D., author of “Take a Nap! Change Your Life”, says that the power naps with different durations have different benefits:
Naps That Last 10-20 Minutes
This nap time is beneficial for increasing your energy levels and improving your alertness. This length will maintain you in the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which will provide you with energy for the rest of the day.
Naps That Last 30 Minutes
Sleeping for 30 minutes might cause sleep inertia, which effect can last for up to half an hour before the benefits of the nap become apparent. This occurs because you are interrupting the stages of entering into a deep sleep, which may make you more tired.
However, sleeping this long is good for boosting your memory and improving your decision-making skills.
Naps That Last 60 Minutes
A 60-minute nap can enhance your memory performance and help you remember names, faces, and facts. The disadvantage of this nap time is that you might feel groggy when you wake up.
Naps That Last 90 Minutes
A 90-minute nap will enable you to undergo a full sleep cycle. This nap time will improve your creativity as well as your emotional and procedural memory. Sleeping for 90 minutes prevents you from experiencing sleep inertia since you are not interrupting the 90-minute-sleep-cycle.