Power NapA Power Nap is a short sleep which terminates before the occurrence of deep sleep, intended to quickly revitalize the person.
Napping has been found to be beneficial. Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity. Napping may benefit the heart. Power-napping is thought to maximize the benefits of sleep versus time. It is used to supplement normal sleep, especially when a person has accumulated a sleep deficit. Power-naps may be taken regularly even when schedules allow a full night's sleep People who regularly take power-naps may develop a good idea of what duration works best for them, as well as which tools, environment, position, and associated factors help induce the best results. How Long Should I Sleep? When you sleep you pass through different stages of sleep, known together as a sleep cycle. These stages include light sleep, deep sleep (which is believed to be the stage in which the body repairs itself), and rapid-eye movement sleep, or REM sleep (during which the mind is repaired).
Many experts advice to keep the nap between 15 and 30 minutes, as sleeping longer gets you into deeper stages of sleep, from which it's more difficult to awaken. Also, longer naps can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, especially if your sleep deficit is relatively small. Tips For a More Effective Nap If you want to obtain more sleep, and the health benefits that go with getting enough sleep, here are some tips for more effective napping and sleep at night: Avoid caffeine after 3pm. It's a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep and stay in your system longer than you think; its half-life is four to six hours! If you don't want to nap a long time, set an alarm. If you don't have time for a power nap, or don't feel comfortable napping during the day, try meditation; it gives your body a rest and produces slower brain waves similar to sleep.
P.S. The short duration of a power-nap is intended to prevent nappers from sleeping so long that they enter the slow wave portion of the normal sleep cycle without being able to complete the cycle. Entering deep, slow-wave sleep and failing to complete the normal sleep cycle, can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, where one feels groggy, disoriented, and even more sleepy than before beginning the nap. In order to attain optimal post-nap performance, a power-nap must be limited to the beginning of a sleep cycle, specifically sleep stages I and II, typically 18 to 25 minutes.
Ten Benefits of Power Nap
These short 20-minute power naps for people who are really engrossed in their work, almost always provide a fresh burst of new ideas and energy. They tend to eliminate the need for caffeine boosts during the workday. And, they guarantee a reserve of energy so that the working day isn't followed by an evening in which he falls asleep on the couch watching TV or at a social event. Here's what you need to know about the benefits of sleep and how a power nap can help you:
1. Less stress. Curling up in a sunny patch on the floor or even lying your head down on your desk for a quick snooze brings relaxation. Research found that stress hormone levels were lower in those who took stress-reducing actions such as napping. Even a short power nap can leave you feeling refreshed, renewed, and more focused.
2. Increased alertness and productivity. If you have the opportunity for a power nap, particularly after a poor night of sleep, by all means, take one. You will feel more alert and energetic afterwards, and once rested after your mid-afternoon nap, your mood, efficiency, and alertness level will improve greatly. Scientists have even proven that taking a 20-minute nap approximately eight hours after you have awaken will do more for your stamina than sleeping another 20 minutes in the morning.
3. Improved memory and learning. Naps aren't just for the very young, old, and sluggish. Daytime dozing may enhance a person's capacity to learn certain tasks. Studies prove that napping may protect brain circuits from overuse until those neurons can consolidate what's been learned about a procedure.
4. Good for the heart. Taking 40 winks in the middle of the day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease, particularly in young healthy men, say researchers. They found that those who took a 30-minute siesta at least three times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death. So go ahead and nap - a short daily snooze might ward off a heart attack later in life. It is known that countries like Italy where siestas are common tend to have lower levels of heart disease.
5. Increased cognitive functioning. In a recent study, researchers at NASA showed that a 30-minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by approximately 40 percent! Tests carried out on one thousand volunteers proved that those who continued working without rest, made lower scores in intelligence tests like the IQ test. More importantly, their capacities to work and memorize decreased in comparison to those who napped after lunch. In concordance with NASA's work, biology students at Berkeley determined that the nap must be short in order to produce maximum effectiveness. Over forty five minutes, the beneficial effects of napping disappear and it is therefore suggested to take a fifteen to thirty five minute ?power nap?. This is the time necessary for the organism to rest and enables brain neurons to recuperate.
6. Get motivated to exercise. Sufficient sleep and naps help motivate exercise. Some 28 percent of adolescents say they are too tired to exercise, due to sleep. You're guaranteed to run longer, faster, more efficiently and mindfully when your body has its required amount of sleep. So, store-up, shore-up and build-up your energy reserve with a power nap. It's easy and proven effective.
7. Boost your creativity. Rest and relaxation isn't only vital to your health - it might also make you a more creative person. People tend to be more imaginative after a good night's sleep. Other experts agree that taking a nap or stepping away from a problem or project refreshes the mind and could lead to better ideas later. Power napping allows your brain to create the loose associations necessary for creative insight and opens the way for a fresh burst of new ideas. So if you feel stuck, then you might want to take a nap. Return to the problem after diverting your attention for a while.
8. Make up for midnight tossing and turning. Some of the most recent research suggests that a bad night's sleep can stress the body as well as the mind. Scientists found that sleep deprivation seemed to trigger a diabetes-like condition, harmed hormone production, and interfered with the ability to use carbohydrates. According to some studies, power napping is clearly beneficial to someone who is a normal sleeper but who is getting insufficient sleep at night. Researchers still don't understand the underlying neurobiology, but it looks like sleep time is cumulative. They compared the alertness of people who slept eight hours a night to that of people who slept less but took a nap during the day. Both groups were equivalent.
9. Protect yourself from sleepiness. Scientists had also found benefits in the ?prophylactic? nap for people who have to stay up late. It can protect you from sleepiness. If you have to be up all night, a two-hour or a four-hour nap does provide additional alertness the next day. Naps are clearly useful for some people, including shift workers, students, and anyone doing long-haul work, such as pilots on transcontinental runs.
10. Better health. Napping in general benefits heart functioning, hormonal maintenance, and cell repair. Power nap simply maximizes these benefits by getting the sleeper into and out of rejuvenating sleep as fast as possible.
HOW TO TAKE A POWER NAP AT WORK
Once you lay your head down for a nap, the worst thing to do is start stressing - this will waste time and defeats the purpose of getting the most rest in the least amount of time. To help you get the most of your power naptime, we suggest trying a few of the following tips:
Announce your nap to yourself and your colleagues Just closing your eyes for a few guilty moments will not cut it - you have to give yourself permission to nap to get the most out of it.
Get comfortable Most sleeping difficulties are psychosomatic, not physical, so if you are having trouble falling asleep, consider revaluating the environment you're sleeping in. An environment conducive to napping is quiet, dark and free from interruptions. If you sleep on a floor at work, keep a mat (like a yoga mat that rolls up) at work, and possibly a pillow and blanket, if that makes you more comfortable. Other tools of the trade to consider - eyeshades, ipod or walkman with restful music, or specific MP3 files designed to help you wind down and fall asleep.
Collect your equipment Blankets, pillows and, where possible, a foldout bed will ensure you get the most out of the rest, and help you separate naptime from the rest of the day.
Make sure you're not worried about waking up Some people wake up naturally, but if you are worried, make sure you have an alarm. It is difficult to enjoy your 40 winks if you keep getting up to check the time after 15, 20 and 30 winks. Eat right Avoid consuming caffeine, fat, carbohydrates or sugar in the hours before your nap as these foods make it harder to get to sleep. Instead, try to consume protein and calcium. In an ideal scenario, drinking a glass of warm milk about an hour before you plan to nap will encourage you to sleep.
Control your nap environment There is nothing worse than being woken up mid-nap, so either tell everyone what you are doing, or take yourself off to somewhere you won't be disturbed. According to Anthony's survey, the loo and the car are the most popular options.
Don't feel guilty. Napping is great for your health and productivity. But even though most of us know this, we often still feel as though we are wasting time. This feeling of guilt only impedes successful power napping. Instead, make an effort to ?recognize that you're not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
Be prepared for grogginess when you wake up Sleep is characterized by cycles of light and deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you will feel groggy for 15 to 20 minutes. In most cases, if you sleep for less than 30 minutes, you won't enter deep sleep, but experiment to see what works for you.
Wake up on time Plan the length of your nap and set an alarm for your desired awakening time. If you do not have access to a formal alarm clock consider using the sleep timer on your cell phone or downloading an alarm clock program to your computer. If you struggle with waking up after even short naps, you might consider taking a ?caffeine nap.? Being late is a sure way to put an end to your power naps.
A caffeine nap is a power nap that was preceded by the intake of a caffeinated beverage such as coffee, tea, or an energy drink. A caffeine pill can be used as well. Researchers found coffee helps clear your system of adenosine, a chemical which makes you sleepy. The combination of a cup of coffee with an immediate nap chaser provided the most alertness for the longest period of time in tests. The recommendation was to nap only 15 minutes, no more or less and you must sleep immediately after the coffee.