Napping Your Way To Success: How Can Regular Short Periods Of Rest Change Your Life?

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Last Updated: Sun, November 25, 2018

Sneaking in one siesta a day can rejuvenate you and replenish your brain power. Modern culture tells us that naps are for children and the retired people. The adult working population does not nap! Or do they? If you were living in Japan right now, you would possibly find it pretty mundane to get some shuteye at around 2pm every day.

Even households in Spain stick to their siesta hours between two and four every afternoon. However, in the US, it is very unusual for adults to nap in the afternoons. A midday snooze can become your day’s guilty pleasure or the reason for a notice from your boss. Nonetheless, it feels good to doze for a couple of minutes in the middle of the day when work is slow, and the belly is full.

An Interesting History of Napping

Sleep specialists recommend naps for everyone. Individuals of all ages and professions can benefit equally from developing a healthy napping habit. A nap can be a short snooze between a couple of minutes to an hour long.

Dali may have perfected his nap regimen where he fell asleep with a key in one hand and an upturned dish under it. As he dozed off, the key slipped from his grip and landed on the plate creating a thud. Those couple of minutes was enough for the father of surrealism to get a fresh start and create new masterpieces.

From Einstein to Beethoven, all master inventors and genius creators believed in the power of catnaps. Interestingly, they all had individual napping times, durations, and habits. Short duration sleep that can take, you to the REM stage has the power to recharge your creativity and restore your cognitive abilities.

What is a Nap?

A pro rata sleeping session during the daytime can be a nap. You can choose to switch off the world for 5 minutes or 1.5 hours. As long as it is shorter than four complete sleep cycles and it is during the daytime, it becomes a snooze. Midday breaks only remain beneficial till they do not interfere with your nightly slumber. You can think of your afternoon forty-winks to complement your night’s sleep.

Today, chancing upon a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow is more realistic than getting 8 hours of sleep on weekdays for most people. It is very common for people to feel groggy during afternoon work hours or the evenings. While most of us choose to shoo away our drowsiness with caffeine, sleep experts recommend welcoming it with a comfortable pillow and an alarm.

Napping vs. Polyphasic Sleep: Are They the Same?

Napping can be synonymous with polyphasic sleep. Did you know that almost 85% of the mammalian world prefers sleeping in several phases throughout the night and day? There is no reason for us to go against nature and deny ourselves the siesta we deserve! Some people are diehard polyphasic sleepers, and they get their regular doses of sleep by napping for 90 minutes at a time throughout 24 hours.

The more common form of multi-phasic rest is when people get their core sleep for about 6 hours and supplement this with 90 minutes of nap during the day. This form of sleeping habit is biphasic sleep. Spacing out your shut-eye can help you experience better REM sleep per day. This slow-wave sleeping phase is vital for the body to engage in restoration of the immune system, removing accumulated toxins and boosting brain power.

Napping can be a form of biphasic sleep, but not all patterns of segmented sleep are napping. For example, there is a concept of sleeping multiple times, where the sleeper engages in 20-minute snoozes throughout the day. The numerous phases amount to only 3 hours of sleep in 24 hours. The efficacy of this pattern of rest is doubtful, and not all people benefit from this rather harsh practice.  

On the other hand, extensive research shows that segmented sleep is beneficial for almost everyone. Toddlers, adolescents, young adults, adults and the elderly benefit equally from practicing biphasic sleep.

Snoozing vs. Sleeping: Which One is Better for Your Health?

Getting enough sleep is a daily struggle for most children, adolescents, and adults. That might give a lot of social media users the chance to create super funny videos and “epic fail” gifs, but it is a problem people should begin to address with seriousness. It might not be possible for you to stay asleep for more than 5 to 6 hours per night but fitting in a break of 90 minutes for hitting the hay every afternoon can give a significant boost to your energy level. Complete sleep usually consists of 4 to 5 REM cycles.

The body and brain enter about five slow-wave sleep cycles per night for completing the restoration work. However, a power nap does not consist of more than two stages of sleep. Interestingly, it takes our brain only 20 to 30 minutes to access the first two stages. Those, who sleep for a more extended duration experience deeper sleep than those who practice shorter naps. By napping for 90 minutes, your mind can enter the final REM stage. Perfecting the length of your rest will depend on the duration of your nightly slumber.

Although there is no strict timing for naps or a stringent rule for the duration, people usually tend to get sloppier 8 hours after waking up. In case you feel tired, drowsy or confused immediately after waking up each morning, you might be suffering from a sleep disorder or the side-effect of a medication you are taking. In that case, you need to consult with your physician and a sleep expert to develop a healthy sleeping schedule. Usually, our bodies follow a 24-hour sleep schedule.

As per the rest requirements of our system, scientists and sleep specialists have narrowed down the typical catnap duration to between 15 and 30 minutes. A long duration nap that allows you to access a complete sleep cycle needs to be about 1.5 hours long. However, finding 1.5 hours per day for an adult is nothing short of impossible. It is one of the reasons most sleep experts recommend a quick power nap.

More extended hours of sleep have the power to reinstate the body’s stamina one has lost throughout the day. Deep slumbers help increase brain power, repair the body and enhance the body’s defense mechanism. Muscle repair, tissue repair, fighting infections, redressing pain, and memory consolidation are a few necessary actions that take place during deeper and longer nightly rests. During these hours, the core temperature of the body reduces, and more energy goes into remedial and repair actions.

Similarly, during a power nap, the core temperature of the human body, and the muscles relax. A power nap can relieve pain, diminish muscle tension, alleviate headaches, and lower stress levels. However, naps cannot replace a good night’s sleep. Some people have mastered the art of sleeping for only 3 hours per day by splitting their rest into 90-minute cycles, but that is a feat for superhumans!

Ideally, there should not be a comparison between core sleep and snooze. The latter is like fast charging your phone’s battery. It takes a shorter time than 4 or 5 complete cycles of sleep, but it can only recharge you fractionally. Getting 4 or 5 full sleep cycles each night is imperative for everyone. In case you do not find enough time at night, you can make up for the lost rest by getting some shuteye later on during the day.

What are the Ultimate Benefits of Napping?

There are proper ways to hit the snooze button every afternoon. Depending on your stress level, work pressure and available places to nap, you might be reaping between one to an uncountable number of benefits from biphasic sleep.

According to an internet-breaking study by NASA, dozing for 20 minutes in the right setting can be more effective than drinking 200 mg of caffeine. If you can sneak in 40-minutes of rest per day, you can increase your midday alertness by almost 100%. It will not only make you feel on top of the world, but it will also improve your productivity levels.

There are many benefits of regular, timely napping. Everyone can enjoy these by regulating the nap space, environment and time.

What are the Different Types of Naps?

Different nap types depend on their duration, timing and other secondary factors. Today, we will discuss the nine different types of nap that can help you turn your life around.

  1. Take a catnap before your shift.
  2. Snooze for 5 minutes during your break.
  3. Sleep in two segments when you get home. Rest for a longer duration after your time ends (4 to 5 hours) and take at least one 90-minute nap anytime during the day.
  1. Disco nap is only for special occasions.
  2. You must get up at regular times every morning.

Napping is an exciting concept and a prevalent practice. Several schools, colleges, and offices are finally catching up to the ideas of two-phased sleep. However, if you are new to this practice, you must know that it is not for everyone. People suffering from depression and mood disorders may experience an upheaval of their circadian rhythm. Insomniacs often find it extremely difficult to fall asleep at night, if they get some rest during the day. Additionally, your power naps should always work with your night-time routine. If it pushes your bedtime further back, you will not benefit much.

How is the Contemporary Sleep Culture Shifting?

Several cities across the world are experiencing a culture shift, where office-going adults and college goers are paying for resting quarters. Some people prefer calling these places as their “recharging rooms” since they doze here regularly to boost their energy levels. People have finally found out that snoozing a little is more effective than drinking a Red Bull or coffee. It includes workplaces like the New York Police Department Midtown South station. They have recently installed a nap pod inside the premises to promote wellness among their recruits.

Emerging mobile applications like Recharge allows the users to book hotel rooms for little amounts to sleep. That’s right! People are ready to pay as much as $10 per half an hour in NYC to get some well-deserved sleep. People have finally understood how a 30-minute catnap can improve the rest of their days. Sleep schedules have been a part of social construct for a long time, and the sleep culture is finally changing. People are finally ready to move on from the more conventional and more western monophasic sleep to biphasic and polyphasic patterns.

A Little bit More About Napping and You

Investigations into sleeping quality and sleeping hygiene show that coupling the right sleep schedule with the right kind of food and drinks helps in improving rest. People who refrain from using their mobile phones at least 3 hours before bedtime or do not drink coffee late in the evening often find it easier to fall asleep. If you are new to napping, you might find it very difficult to fall asleep on command for 20 or 30 minutes.

Believe it or not, even power naps take a lot of practice. To perfect the art of enjoying small breaks during the day, try to stick to strict timings and use an alarm clock. For the first few days you might find it impossible to doze off, but gradually, it will come to you! One day you will see yourself waking up to the alarm, fresh like it’s the first hour of the morning.

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