It is quite visible that with our increasingly busy life schedules, we devoid ourselves from taking time for an afternoon siesta which is considered to have extraordinary health benefits. However, the perception towards power napping is different in this modern world, where people are not expected to wink sleep during working hours, and this is widely considered unacceptable behaviour.
Unlike other mammals, who are polyphasic sleepers which mean they doze throughout the day for short periods. Many people believe that humans are monophasic sleepers which say that our day is divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness. Or is it the modern society that has made us think so. Regardless, it’s quite clear that we are not getting enough sleep. But there is a solution to harness the power of sleeping hours through “Napping”.
But, What exactly is a Napping?
Napping is a short snooze which terminates just before the occurrence of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep (SWS). Power napping helps you to revitalise and stay refreshed all day quickly. Power naps last for up to 5, 10 and 20 minutes. A power nap of 10-minute is considered to boost your alertness and productivity. But, having a rest for 30 minutes or more may lead to impaired alertness and sleep inertia.
Power nap needs are short to be efficient, as sleeping for extended will interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm causing a disturbance to sleep in the night. The perfect timing to have a great nap is mid to late morning or early afternoon. Despite the practice to have power naps during work hours is shunned and evokes an intense feeling of guilt in the accused, but taking ‘power nap’ is considered to promote good health and enhance work efficiency.
Health benefits of Power Nap:
While a good sleep is a key to health, a few recent studies suggest that mid-day dozing has countless benefits on both mind and body. That includes:
- ● Productivity: A nap of 10-20 minutes enhances your creativity, verbal memory, perceptual learning and reaction time. It also lowers your mistake frequency and prevents burnout.
● Happiness: Power nap releases a neurotransmitter “Serotonin” that is responsible for the feeling of well-being and also reverses the effects of stress.
● Dementia: Napping prevents dementia; a decline in mental ability, i.e., Memory loss
● Skin Health: Napping enhances and speeds up the skin repair system.
● Weight control: Lack of proper sleep tends to produce a hormone “Ghrelin” that is responsible for the greed of food. Hence napping can quash the hunger out.
● Immunity: Napping combats the adverse effect of stress and weight gain hormone produced due to lack of sleep that weakens the muscular and immune system.
● Heart Health: Daytime nap can confer heart-related benefits by accelerating cardiovascular recovery after bouts of psychological stress and also promotes controlled blood pressure.
Power naps not only nurture good health but, can also alleviate our sleep deficits such as sleep apnea or insomnia. Napping is good for people of all ages. But, particularly in children crossing toddlerhood, their sleep pattern transits from biphasic (twice a day) to monophasic sleep (once a day). In kids, power nap helps in
- ● Creative problem-solving ability
- ● Verbal memory
- ● Object learning
- ● Perceptual learning
- ● Statistical learning
Power naps also improve performance in math, logical reasoning and symbol recognition. Classroom naps are essential for preschool children as they help in enhancing their concentration and learning capabilities.
By now you are probably thinking how to incorporate naps into your daily routine. Keep in mind that getting enough sleep is the best way to stay alerted and feel fit. But when fatigue sets in, a quick power nap can do wonders for your mental and physical stamina. If it is not working for you, consult a doctor for professional advice and medical help.