My mother, St. Sara (the only Jewish saint!) had a habit of taking a 15-20 minute nap every afternoon and then she had a recharged battery and was able to be exuberant and energetic for 5-6 additional hours. Naps can be quite beneficial to most people who already sleep well at night.
Americans are a sleep-deprived nation. Naps can improve our overall daily functioning. This blog will discuss the benefits of afternoon napping.
Naps can be very beneficial for workplace performance. Short naps have been routinely demonstrated to reduce accidents and mistakes while also improving attention, concentration, performance and alertness. Naps also help boost your mood and ability to manage stress. Naps can be used proactively to gain energy for a late night out. They can even be used effectively to combat drowsy driving when a short snooze is taken just before getting behind the wheel or using heavy machinery.
Routine, planned naps are necessary for some people, while others find that taking an occasional nap when sleepy might be all that is needed. For example, patients with narcolepsy find that planned short naps are crucial to managing their sleepiness every day.
Although it seems simple to take a nap, there are a few tricks to optimize the benefits of a midday snooze. Here are a few tricks from Dr. Oz to getting in a great power nap.
- Short, 20-minute power naps are generally much better than longer ones since longer naps cause you to get into deeper stages of sleep, leading to an increased feeling of grogginess upon awakening. Longer naps can also interfere with nighttime sleep. Shorter naps are typically refreshing and can help increase alertness for a few hours.
- Make sure that your sleep environment is comfortable, quiet, dark and cool. If you are at home, try to nap only in your bed. If you aren’t at home, find a place where you can either lie down or recline. Block as much light as possible coming into the room (or get a light-blocking eye mask), and consider using a white noise machine, fan or silicone earplugs to block the noise around you.
- Power naps taken before 2 p.m. tend not to interfere as much with nighttime sleep, so earlier naps are better. If you find that you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid napping during the day.
Bottom Line: Getting enough sleep is important to our health and well being. Taking a short afternoon nap is an excellent to recharge our batteries just like my mother, St. Sara, was able to do for her whole life.