Studies have shown that this will also boost memory, cognitive skills, creativity and energy level
TAKING naps is as human as breathing, but what exactly is a nap? Isn’t it just sleeping, being the same?
Not exactly. Napping is a sleep process, but not the full picture of what constitutes “sleep”. To better understand the concept of “nap”, it is essential to first understand what sleep is.
From the outside, sleep is just what most people go through when they crash into bed after a long day and then wake up the next day, hours later.
However, on the inside, sleep occurs in various cycles, in which the body changes and adapts accordingly while the conscious mind is briefly “turned off”.
A normal sleep cycle begins with a light phase called non-rapid sleep (NREM). This deepens in the next stage called REM sleep. This cycle is then updated, over and over, with each cycle lasting approximately 90 minutes.
If uninterrupted, the person enters deep REM sleep, which is critical for overall health and well-being.
In this “deep sleep” state, a person’s body works to refresh energy, increase blood flow to the muscles, and greatly aid tissue and bone growth and repair.
Napping is different because you never go into “deep sleep” when you wake up in the lightest stages of sleep and feel refreshed.
A 2010 research from Flinders University’s School of Psychology in Australia revealed that cognitive functioning improved after napping, where short 5- to 15-minute naps showed immediate benefits that lasted one to three hours, while anything longer than 30 minutes could produce impairment.
These disorders range from health problems to cognitive impairments such as vision and thinking.
On the other hand, the benefits of napping in the above time frame have shown increased alertness, stress reduction, mood enhancement, and increased creativity due to reversing the hormonal impact of poor sleep and has longer lasting benefits than drinking. coffee.
Despite the huge benefits of napping, there are some caveats to consider.
For one, not everyone should take a nap.
Those suffering from insomnia are advised not to take a daytime or afternoon nap, as they exacerbate the existing sleep problem at night.
For others, consider these before taking a nap:
> Did you sleep the recommended amount (seven to eight hours) the night before?
> Is your daily productivity, both at work and at home, starting to decline?
> Is your cognitive function slow compared to the hours after waking up?
> Do you find your mind wandering at times when it clearly shouldn’t?
> Does it seem to you that there is a “fog” or a veil covering your mental processes?
In these situations, yes, it may take a nap to “shock” the system.
Now that you know a nap is in order and you have decided to take action, the important question is how long it should last.
First of all, consider the semantics of the word. A nap is a nap and a nap is not a full-fledged long sleep.
In a 1995 study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), co-author Mark Rosekind revealed that a 26-minute nap would improve performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.
A fatigue expert, Rosekind also said that between 20 and 30 minutes would be the ideal amount of time for a nap.
Anything minor would have slightly diminished effects, and anything more would only increase the feeling of fatigue.
Due to the risk of oversleeping, which is likely for most ordinary people, the UK Sleep Research Council recommends having a cup of coffee just before nap.
The effects of caffeine occur after about 20 minutes, so drinking it before taking a nap helps both wake the person up and keep them alert.
When and where
Experts have broadly agreed that the best napping windows are between 1pm and 3pm (due to the effects on post-lunch energy) and 5pm to 6pm for those who they work night shifts.
As for where you should take a nap, it depends entirely on several variables.
For one, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, most offices don’t recognize the benefits of power naps and don’t even encourage their employees to take them.
Of course, there are companies and organizations that allow themselves this “privilege” by having designated rooms, quarters or areas where employees can briefly close their eyes, but these are the far minority.
For everyone else, the options are limited, such as going home (if they live near where they work) or just heading to their car for a nap.
Despite all that naps are capable of, it’s not a complete cure for existing problems.
If you’re severely sleep deprived – for example, you’ve only slept for five hours or less – taking a nap for 20-30 minutes once won’t make you feel like Superman after waking up from your lunch nap.
For those who have real sleeping conditions in addition to insomnia, such as sleep apnea, medical experts strongly advise against taking short naps.
Ultimately, it’s best to get professional help and advice in these rare situations.