Unfortunately, people in America, especially those who are workaholic, frown upon napping and it is considered that napping is actually for those who are lazy, unambitious, or for retirees who have plenty of time on their hands, but not for working men and women. However, this is not true at all, because naping can be extremely beneficial for your body as well as for your productivity.
The Benefits of Napping
Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes
Improves learning and working memory
Prevents burnout and reverses information overload
Heightens your senses and creativity
The Drawbacks of Napping
Not everyone can nap during the day. While some people enjoy napping and the get the full benefits of it, others actually experience negative effects of napping. Among all other drawbacks of napping, the biggest two are nighttime sleeping problems and sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is when you are in a groggy or sleepish state after waking from your nap. Eventhough this state will pass, the time it takes to pass is unproductive for you and you are less focused. Nighttime sleeping problems are a common drawback to naps. Naps can disrupt your natural sleeping pattern and cause insomnia at night.
Stages Of Sleep
There are 4 basic naps but before we get to their benefits, we need to understand each sleep stage in order to het the best benefits of each nap. There are five stages of sleep, 1,2,3,4 and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). During your primarly sleeping time, you cycle through each cycle which last about 90 to 100 minutes. This is where the time of your nap becomes critical to the benefit you want to get from your nap.
The shortest stage of sleep which is basically used as a transition stage into deeper levels of sleep.
The second stage is actuall;y the stage where you spend the buld of your sleep. Your basic and complex motor skills are refined during this period. Moreover, your senses, stamina and energy are all boosted.
Stages 3 and 4
During these 2 stages, your body stops releasing cortisol and extra growht hormone goes to work lowering stress, moving carbs out of your body, restoring your body and repairing tissues. Moreover, your mind goes through a cleaning process by disregarding memories that are no longer in use, strengthening ones that are in use and opening up room for new information to be retained.
REM: REM sleep provides great benefits because it helps transfer short term memories to long term memories. Therefore, sleeping close to the time you learn new information helps you retain that information better.
Now, lets see what kind of naps you should be taking.
Length Of Naps
10 to 20 Minutes
10 to 20 minutes naps is a power nap which will boost your energy and alertness. After waking up, it will be more easier to you to hit the ground running. These length of nap prevent inertia from being a problem. Moreover, with this nap you are able to get into stage 2 of your sleep cycle you are able to increase your stamina throughout the day.
During this nap, your body is stuck in limbo, it has started the restorative process in stages 3 and 4, but has yet to complete the full restorative process. According to some studies, not being able to complete the full process of stages 3 and 4 will make cause you sleep inertia, you will feel gorggy which will last 30 minutes after waking up.
This nap is best for improvement in remembering facts, faces and names. It includes slow-wave sleep, the deepest type. The downside is there is some grogginess upon waking up.
This 90 minutes nap is in fact a full cycle of sleep, meaning the lighter and deeper stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, typically likened to the dreaming stage. This nap will get you the full benefits, it will lead to improved emotional and procedural memory and creativity. This length of nap will avoid sleep inertia and it will be easier for you to wake up and start the day fast.