It’s good news for those who love taking power naps. Many studies have now proved that taking a nap is good for you in many ways. Many of us suffer from sleep deprivation which leads to lower levels of productivity. Toddlers have been found to suffer if they miss even a single nap. So for both adults and children, napping is a boon. It refreshes the mind, enhances creativity, boosts intelligence and experts say, helps you live a healthier and longer life. The way you nap also matters. Read on to find out the science behind the perfect snooze:
Decide the purpose of your nap
Do you want to nap to boost alertness, or improve cognitive memory? A power nap for 10-20 minutes is enough to feel fresh and alert. But if you want to improve your cognitive memory, you’d have to nap for 60 minutes. Slow-wave sleeping helps to remember faces, places and facts, though you may feel a little groggy when you wake – a cup of coffee can help you beat the grogginess!
The 90-minute nap involves a full sleep cycle, which is beneficial for procedural and emotional memory, and enhances creativity.
On the other hand, research has shown that ultra short naps lasting for 6 minutes can boost long term memory.
And for those who are wondering how to get the perfect nap in your office, experts recommend that you should be sitting upright during your nap, as it will avoid you falling into a deep sleep. So you can sleep in your chair, if you don’t have a couch in your office. And dreaming during a nap is an indication that you are sleep deprived.
Timing it right
To get the most out of your nap, you must time it right. According to experts, short naps are the best as you enter only the first two stages of sleep, and do not feel groggy later. Ideally, naps should be less than 20 minutes. You can fit shorts naps into your busy schedule, and still have get maximum benefits – improved concentration and mood, motor skills and alertness. If you can manage to sleep for 45 minutes, you will get the added benefits of creativity and sensory processing.
Co-ordinate the caffeine kick
The way to get an extra boost is to coordinate your nap and your coffee. As caffeine takes approximately 20-30 minutes to kick in, you should drink your coffee just before your nap, and you’ll be alert from your nap and the coffee just when you wake up. Experts say that combining your coffee with your nap will give better results than just the one thing.
Types of naps
The four types of naps are:
Planned naps are those which involve napping before you feel sleepy, which restores attention and improves quality of work. It also improves the ability to learn on the job.
Emergency napping is when you just can’t focus anymore.
Habitual napping is when you take a nap at a fixed time daily.
Appetite napping is napping for enjoyment.
Children need naps too
Research has shown that napping is extremely important for children, especially pre-schoolers. Naps are essential to develop early learning, as short-term memory is limited and naps help in consolidating memory in young children. Children of all ages are benefited by daytime naps. Sleep deprived kids are more anxious, show less interest and joy, and have poorer problem solving abilities.
Find a dark, quiet place to start napping
Light and noise can hamper the ability to nap, if you’re not really tired. So choose a place which receives less light, and putting in ear plugs or listening to some white noise may help you fall asleep.
If you’re stressed out and have a thousand things going on in your mind, it will be difficult to sleep. To get in the nap zone, experts suggest mediating techniques which can relax you and help you sleep. Focus on your breathing, relax the muscles and use positive visualization to calm you down.
Many corporate too have recognised the benefits of napping and are even giving employees ‘sleep pods’. Plan to nap daily and enhance your memory, intelligence and creativity.