The power of the power nap

Image by 영훈 박 from Pixabay

I love sleep.  I can sleep through thunderstorms.  I can sleep through pretty much anything.  If it were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medallist. I don’t lack sleep.

I can also nap to order.  If I’m relaxed at home, not really doing much (not very often), I can actually set myself a mental time limit on having a nap.  I curl up and look at the clock, then tell myself I have fifteen or twenty minutes for a quick nap. More often than not, I will actually wake up, without the need for an alarm, in that timeframe.

Research suggests that a twenty minute snooze in the afternoon provides more rest than if we were to extend our morning sleep by twenty minutes. Enjoying a nap in the afternoon has been shown to greatly improve cognitive function, recover any sleep deprivation, prepare us for upcoming sleep loss, relax our mood and increase energy levels.

Some people say that they feel groggy after a nap and no better for it.  This is because of the stages our body cycles through during sleep. A five minute nap is too short to be beneficial at all.  Sleeping for longer than thirty minutes gives the body a chance to enter deep sleep which is when you may feel groggy afterwards.

Although there are benefits for having a short afternoon siesta, for some it can be counterproductive by interfering with the natural ability to fall asleep at bedtime.  Insomniacs should avoid napping.

The Sleep Foundation offer advice for taking the best nap:

Set an alarm – the best nap length is for about ten to twenty minutes, providing restorative sleep without the drowsiness. Of, if you’re like me, just tell yourself how long you can nap for.

Nap early – about halfway between the point when you wake up and the time you intend to go to bed.  Don’t leave it too late otherwise it would affect your chance to get to sleep when you do go to bed.

Create the right environment – make yourself comfortable, quiet, cool and dark.  I don’t have a problem falling asleep in the bright sunlight, curled up on the sofa.

Relax – put aside what’s worrying you, forget the to-do lists, or use a relaxing meditation.

Set your intentions – think about what you want to get from your nap whether restorative, or catching up on your Zzzzz’s.

There’s something to be said for some Mediterranean countries who officially recognise the benefits of a siesta. Can we petition the UK government to adopt this? I’m off for a nap now!


One thought on “The power of the power nap

  1. Ha ha. I’m so jealous. I don’t sleep well at night but try not to nap during the day in case that affects by night sleep 😴


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