Who doesn’t love to nap?
Unfortunately, napping is frequently frowned upon in the modern workaholic world and culture. Naps are considered to be a practice of the lazy and non-ambitious people or for the retired ones who have a lot of time on their hands. The busy working class men and women cannot afford napping. But, they are very useful for both the body and the brain, as they increase the productivity.
THE BENEFITS OF NAPPING
– Prevents burnout and reverses information overload
– Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes
– Improves your senses and creativity
– Improves health
– Improved mood
– Reduced fatigue
– Increases alertness
– Improves learning and working memory
The Drawbacks of Napping
Not all people benefit from naps. While some find it pretty useful, some people find it less desirable as they experience negative effects from napping. The greatest drawbacks of napping are sleep inertia and nighttime sleeping troubles. Sleep inertia makes you feel groggy and sleepy long after you wake up from the nap. Until this state passes, you are going to be less productive and less concentrated. The other drawback is the nighttime sleeping trouble, which represents a drawback because the nap will disrupt your natural sleeping pattern and you will deal with insomnia at night.
STAGES OF SLEEP
Before listing the four basic naps and their benefits, it is important to explain each sleep stage. There are 5 stages of sleep (1, 2, 3, 4 and REM), each of the cycles lasts for 90-100 minutes. This is the time when the nap becomes of utmost importance in regard to the benefit you want to reap from your nap.
The first stage is the shortest and it is a transition between the first stage and the deeper levels of sleep.
During this stage you spend the bulk of your sleep. While you are in this stage, your basic and motor skills are pretty refined, as well as your energy, senses and your stamina.
STAGES 3 and 4
These are the stages in which your body ceases the process of releasing cortisol altogether and the extra growth hormone goes to work restoring your body, repairing tissues, metabolizing fats and eliminating carbs out of your body, and reducing stress. Your mind is also being cleansed during these stages by the process of disregarding memories that are no longer in use, and strengthening memories that are in use and providing more room for new information to be retained.
REM: the major function of this phase is to transfer the short term memories into the long term memories. That is why if you want to retain some information better, you need to sleep closer to the time you learn that new information.
So now let’s get to the good part and see what the different kinds of naps are you should be taking!
Length of Naps
10 to 20 minutes
The nap of this length is perfect if you want to boost your alertness and your energy levels. This time prevents your mind from going into the heavier stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep, and that is why it would be easier for you to hit the ground running after you wake up. The nap of 10 to 20 minutes will prevent the inertia and you will be able to increase your stamina during the day because you will be able to get into stage 2 of your sleep.
At this point, the body has started the restorative stages 3 and 4, even though it still needs more time to complete the restorative process. It has been scientifically shown that inability to complete the full process may cause a hangover, inertia, and grogginess which may last for half an hour after waking up.
This length is the best in terms of improving the remembering if names, faces, and facts. The only side effect is the grogginess after waking up.
This time provides your body and brain the opportunity to go through the full cycle of sleeping, both the lighter and the deeper stages, as well as the REM stage, usually likened to the dreaming stage. This contributes to improved emotional memory, as well as to improved procedural memory, which will make you more able to ride a bike or play the piano. It will also boost your creativity. If you sleep this long, you will most likely avoid sleep inertia and it will be easier for you to wake up