Napping is definitely a topic that divides the population down the middle. Half of us believe it's the key to productivity, others believe it impedes sleeping at night. But which is it? And should you take a nap during the day? There are actually all kinds of naps helping different issues. Napping might actually be a science and we're going to break it down for you. Here's everything you need to know about napping...
Types of naps
Habitual napping: Newborn babies are the biggest culprits for habitual napping. They need a certain amount of sleep at a certain time every day to maintain function.
Emergency napping: Commonly used by long-haul drivers. An emergency nap occurs when you physically cannot continue a task before taking a small rest bite.
Planned napping: If you know you're going to up earlier than normal - going to the airport etc. It's great to take a nap before you actually become sleepy. This is known as taking a planned nap and wards off becoming sleepy earlier.
There are some occasions where napping is actually beneficial for safety. Things like driving for long periods of time without taking adequate rest is extremely dangerous. NASA studies show taking a 40-minute nap can restore performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. If you know you have a mentally draining task ahead, taking a nap will only make you feel better. Generally, there's a certain time of day attention span drops. Taking a short nap in the afternoon can extend general alertness for a few hours later in the day.
Occasionally napping can actually make you feel worse, especially if you nap for more than 10-20 minutes. This is a condition known as sleep inertia. Sleep inertia is a feeling of grogginess and disorientation that comes after falling into a deep sleep. The condition should only last a few minutes but can be detrimental to people that need to perform immediately after napping. A great way to combat this condition is to drink a coffee before the nap and wake yourself after 20 minutes. The caffeine should have kicked in and left you feeling refreshed.
Napping definitely comes with a stigma of laziness. This is completely false. We all operate differently and often people with high mentally/physically performing lifestyles need a nap to perform adequately. The best way to stay alert throughout the day is getting a good night sleep. However when that is not an option, taking a nap could help out massively when fatigue sets in. Most mammals are programmed to sleep for short periods of time, often. Humans are part of a separate sleep cycle that splits the day into two parts, one for sleeping and one for being awake. But that doesn't mean that we don't need a nap every now and then.
If you find yourself struggling to get a good nights sleep, check out our article on how to improve sleep quality.
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