Napping for Your Health

May 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Research has shown that sleep improves learning, memory, and creative thinking and napping makes people more effective problem solvers. According to WebMD, naps are one of the most powerful alertness strategies. It allows us to directly address that sleep debt we rack up at night when we don’t get the amount of sleep we need.

How to take a good nap

Keep it Short. The 20- to 30-minute nap may be the ideal pick-me-up. Even just napping for a few minutes has benefits. Longer naps can lead to sleep inertia – the post-sleep grogginess that can be difficult to shake off.

Find a dark, quiet, cool place. You don’t want to waste a lot of time getting to sleep. Reducing light and noise helps most people nod off faster. Cool temperatures are helpful, too.

Plan on It. Waiting till daytime sleepiness gets so bad that you have to take a nap can be uncomfortable and dangerous, if, say, you’re driving. A regular nap time many also help you get to sleep faster and wake up quicker.

Time your caffeine. Caffeine takes some time to kick in. A Japanese study several years ago found that drinking a caffeinated beverage and then taking a short nap immediately afterward was the most restful combination because the sleep occurred just before the caffeine took effect. Regardless of the exact timing, you need to coordinate caffeine intake with your nap.

Experts say while napping once or twice a week might feel good, it can throw your internal clock out of whack. You should nap regularly or you’ll interfere with your circadian rhythm. We also shouldn’t undervalue the sleep we need at night. If a person is having adequate nocturnal sleep at night he should never feel tired during the day.

Entry filed under: Managing your health.

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