Napping! Many of don’t do enough of it! Some people are under the impression that napping is a sign of laziness, however…there are many health benefits to taking naps!
Have you ever asked yourself: How long should I nap for? Well…if so…you are about to find out the answer!
A nap of 60-minutes improves alertness for up to 10-hours as NASA research suggests. One Harvard study published last year showed that a 45-minute nap improves learning and memory. Napping reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.
There are a few ‘nap times’ that will yield different end results in regards to how your body and mind feels when you wake.
The following is from Jennifer Ackerman…the author of Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body
How long should you rest for?
In designing the optimal nap you need to grasp its potential components. During sleep, your brain’s electrical activity goes through a five-phase cycle.
A short afternoon catnap of 20 minutes yields mostly Stage 2 sleep, which enhances alertness and concentration, elevates mood, and sharpens motor skills. To boost alertness on waking, you can drink a cup of coffee before you nap. Caffeine requires 20 or 30 minutes to take effect, so it will kick in just as you‘re waking. Naps of up to 45 minutes may also include rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which enhances creative thinking and boosts sensory processing.
Limit your nap to 45 minutes or less, if you need to spring into action after dozing. Otherwise, you may drift into slow-wave sleep. Waking from this stage results in sleep inertia, that grogginess and disorientation that can last for half an hour or more.
But you might want to take a long nap, at least 90 minutes. Many of us get about an hour to an hour-and-a-half less sleep a night than we need. One recent study shows that the sleep-deprived brain toggles between normal activity and complete lapses, or failures, a dangerous state of slowed responses and foggy inattention. Sound familiar?
Naps of 90 to 120 minutes usually comprise all stages, including REM and deep slow-wave sleep, which helps to clear your mind, improve memory recall, and recoup lost sleep. Longer naps in the morning yield more REM sleep, while those in the afternoon offer more slow-wave sleep. A nap that is long enough to include a full sleep cycle, at least 90 minutes, will limit sleep inertia by allowing you to wake from REM sleep.
Now that you have read all that…go ahead…take a nap! Your body deserves it!
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