Catching Some Zzz’s
Remember when a nap was part of your daily routine? Around the age of five, you probably pleaded not to have to take one. These days, most of us would give anything to have the option to take a siesta. Studies show that taking a nap isn’t just something for toddlers – adults need naps, too! It is a misconception that naps are for the lazy and unambitious. In fact, naps can increase relaxation, reduce fatigue, increase alertness, and improve mood and performance. Imagine having quicker reaction time and a better memory!
The National Sleep Foundation credits naps to improved performance in a sleep study at NASA. Sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%. Medical Daily revealed information on a study given that proved napping can protect our health: “Researchers found that a short nap could reverse the negative health effects of a night of poor sleep, and also reduce stress and bolster the immune system.” It is common for adults not to get adequate sleep and research shows that we’re getting an average of only six hours of sleep a night. It’s no wonder we’re so susceptible to illness, irritability, and poor performance at work.
The key to napping is to be aware of its benefits, but also its setbacks. Knowing how long and when to nap can help you maintain proper health and stamina. A common side effect of napping is called Sleep inertia. This means feeling groggy and disoriented after waking up from a nap. You should also be aware that long or frequent naps might interfere with nighttime sleep. The Mayo Clinic expresses key signs to consider when contemplating naps in general. You might consider making time for a nap if you experience new fatigue or unexpected sleepiness or if you expect loss of sleep due to a long shift at work. If you notice fatigue for no apparent reason, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional. There may be something more going on that needs to be addressed.
Remember not to overdo it if and when you take a nap. Power naps range anywhere form 10-30 minutes. Unless you work graveyard shifts, taking naps in the afternoon is the best time as it doesn’t interfere with your nighttime sleep routine. Don’t forget, if you are a new parent, sleeping when the baby sleeps can help you be on your game – you’ve probably realized sleep is hard to come by in these early months of parenting! Finally, be sure to give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities, particularly those that require a quick or sharp response. Sleep tight! W