Wordwise 126 A2854

Beginner’s guide to effective naps

  • 2014.01.29

When feeling rundown during the day, the idea of closing your eyes and taking a short nap can seem perfect. Unfortunately, for many, even a very short nap is considered an impossible luxury. Yet, recent studies have confirmed what I have always suspected to be true – naps are necessary because they keep you fresh and alert.

The first reason napping may be necessary is, obviously, a lack of sleep. Did you know that most adults aren’t getting the 7-9 hours a night sleep they need? Also, poor nutrition, such as lunches high in carbohydrates and sugars, may make you sluggish later in the afternoon. Finally, the desire to nap is actually just the body following its natural circadian rhythms. In other words, it is how we are programmed.

So then, what’s the most effective way to nap? Well, according to researchers, the following information can help tired workers get the best “bang for their buck” when it comes to afternoon naps.
According to sleep experts, if you want be more alert but get back to work quickly, a 10-to-20-minute power nap is usually adequate.
However, they also say that a 60-minute nap is better for improving your memory. This amount of sleep helps with remembering facts, places and faces. The downside is that you may feel groggy when you wake up.
Finally, a 90-minute nap probably means that you have slept through an entire sleep cycle. This aids your creativity and procedural memory, such as learning how to drive.

For extra benefits you might want to try the following:
- Sleep in a slightly seated position. This stops you falling into a deep sleep.
- Surprisingly, drinking coffee before a nap can help. Caffeine takes 20-30 minutes to start working in the body. So, if you time it so that the caffeine starts kicking in just as you wake up, you can get some rest and an extra boost all in one.

So next time you feel in need of a break or just can’t keep your eyelids open any longer, consider these guidelines. You may just be napping your way to a successful and healthy future.