Do you struggle with fatigue in the afternoon? Have you tried to find a solution but coffee just doesn’t seem to be up to the task? How about taking a nap?
While napping has garnered a bad reputation in our fast-paced society, new research into the science of sleep has revealed that not only may naps be necessary to combat fatigue, the desire to nap is perfectly natural.
In response to the discovery of the many benefits of napping, major employers have incorporated napping rooms into the workplace and encourage their employees to make use of them.
Napping sounds like an easy solution, however, if you’ve ever indulged and woken up in a stupor you’re not alone. To truly benefit from a nap you need to plan ahead and follow a few guidelines.
How To Nap For The Best Results
Not all naps are created equal. If you’ve ever woken up from a nap feeling worse than when you first lay down, you’re doing it wrong!
There are certain rule you need to follow in order to maximize the effectiveness of your nap and ensure you get the greatest benefit and avoid the unpleasant aftereffects caused by sleep inertia.
The best naps are short naps. Science and experience have proven that how long you nap is one of the -- if not the -- most important factor you need to get right in order to master napping.
When planning your naps, there are two lengths you can consider, each of which has unique benefits . However, these are rough estimates based on the average times it takes us to cycle through different stages of sleep.
Each stage of sleep has different benefits, so longer naps that include deeper sleep will have additional benefits
30 Minutes: Increase alertness & concentration, Improve mood, Fine-tune motor skills
Short naps of 30 minutes or so are widely believed to be the most beneficial. During this brief period of rest you’re really only entering the first two stages of sleep (light sleep), which makes it much easier to wake up and return to your day.
But since naps of this duration can easily be scheduled into your workday, it usually something most of us can pull off without too much trouble. Even if you are only resting, it has its benefits. It also is unlikely to interfere with your ability to fall asleep come bedtime.
60 Minutes: Enhance creativity, Improve sensory processing
A 60-minute nap will keep you in the lighter stages of sleep, but you run the risk of drifting into a deeper stage which can leave you feeling disoriented upon waking. However, if timed correctly this longer nap will reap you additional benefits.
This is good news, since naps of this duration can easily be scheduled into your workday. It also is less likely to interfere with your ability to fall asleep come bedtime.