A power nap is sleeping during the day, usually between 1 pm to 4 pm. It commonly lasts between 10 to 30 minutes. Any sleeping session that is longer than 30 minutes can potentially develop sleep inertia, which is the groggy feeling that is hard to shake off after waking up. In addition, napping after 4 pm is not recommended due to the fact that it can disrupt normal sleeping patterns at night.
Health Benefits of Power Nap
People who regularly power nap can choose the most effective factors that affect the quality of their nap including duration, environment, position, and tools. Others may prefer power napping at the office, while some find it more comfortable inside a car. Whatever the choices, one thing that is certain is that power napping provides various health benefits that can add to the benefits of 8 hours of regular daily sleep. Below are the invaluable health benefits of power naps.
1. Promotes Alertness
Have you had the feeling of your eyes shutting down without control? Experts say that this involuntary movement is usually caused by fatigue and lack of sleep, which will eventually lead to the inability to focus and stay alerted. Fortunately, a study suggested that power napping for even as short as 10 minutes will effectively restore energy, thus bringing back focus and attentiveness. Furthermore, the study also stated that 20 minutes of having power nap is more effective than drinking coffee or doing some light exercises. Clearly, power napping makes you more alert and efficient for the second part of your day.
2. Promotes Overall Health
Sleeping less than the required hours per day will lead to sleep deprivation symptoms such as high levels of cortisol in the body. When maintained at proper levels, cortisol, which is also called the stress hormone, helps you properly control various body responses. However, excessive cortisol can develop several health risks including weak immunes system, abdominal fat, inability to focus, intolerance to glucose, fatigue and memory gap.
Taking power naps allows the body to release growth hormone, which effectively maintains proper healthy levels of cortisol. Furthermore, power napping enables your brain and body to rest and repair, while also boosting your immune system.
3. Healthier Option than Energy Drinks
When we feel tired and unenergetic, most of us seek the help of coffee and energy drinks. Although coffee provides many health benefits, excessive consumption can lead to various health risks. Furthermore, too much caffeine intake will definitely interfere with proper sleeping patterns which can eventually lead to insomnia and other sleeping issues. Similar to coffee, energy drinks can also do more harm than good with our body. Even the most popular energy drinks contain loads of sugar which can further complicate existing health issues like diabetes.
Needless to say, power napping combined with daily 8 hours of sleep is the most natural yet effective way to restore energy and combat fatigue. Furthermore, opting for a natural nap will save you a lot of money from expensive coffee and energy drinks like Starbucks and Gatorade.
4. Better Mood
If you feel cranky, pressured and stressed from work or family issues, power napping is the answer. Our bodies produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, a substance that maintains and regulates our mood, appetite, and sleep. This substance also controls the feeling of overall contentment and happiness with our wellbeing. Unfortunately, when we feel stressed and pressured, higher levels of this substance is needed to maintain proper mood, but most of the time, the production is not enough. As a result, anxiety, distraction, depression and inability to focus are developed.
During stressful episodes and situations, power napping helps the body to produce the proper amount of serotonin to minimize the risk of having anxiety attacks, uncontrollable mood swings, and depression.
5. Perfect for Children
As it turns out, there is actually a scientific basis on why our parents insisted that we should take naps in the afternoon when we were still children. According to a study, power napping promotes better learning ability for children. In fact, classroom napping effectively enables preschool children to enhance and restore all the memories and lessons they learned in the morning. Furthermore, sleep deprivation in children results in memory deficiency that even overnight sleep can’t recover.
Lastly, a power nap is also beneficial to infants as it helps them quickly absorb the language abstracts while also developing the ability to have effective long-term memory.
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