Power Naps: How They Can Help You

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 9:33 PM

Are you tired of not being able to stay awake through class? Is just getting up in the morning a struggle? Coffee and other caffeinated beverages might seem like an easy solution, but there is an easier and healthier way to get that second boost of energy you need during a long day. If you are ready to fight fatigue, set your alarm and start snoozing. The solution you are looking for is a power nap.

A power nap is a short amount of sleep mainly to restore mental alertness. The best time to power nap is in the middle of the day, after you have been awake for a couple hours. This is a point in your circadian cycle, your body’s natural sleep regulation rhythm, where you start to feel tired again. Do not nap too late in the day though, napping after 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. might prevent you from falling asleep or will make your quality of sleep at night go down.

For most people, a 20 minute power nap is the best amount of time. It also helps if you add a 5 to 10 minute buffer to allow yourself to relax before the actual nap. But be careful, as a nap over 30 to 40 minutes could make you feel drowsy and groggy. It can even put you in a bad mood.

Sleep research also has shown that a short nap is more effective than a long one, so do not waste your precious time on something less effective.

If you have trouble relaxing before you nap, try making the environment calm and relaxing. Put you phone on silent, turn off the lights and even wear an eye mask if you can. You could also make a playlist of relaxing music and listen to it as you fall asleep.

If you feel the need for an extra caffeinated boost, you should drink a caffeinated drink while you relax, right before closing your eyes and setting the alarm. Coffee takes a few minutes to go through your system, so it will give you a jolt as you wake up without affecting your nap.

Research shows that those who take naps are less likely to suffer from anxiety, stress or heart disease if they follow a consistent schedule and get quality sleep at night.

Make sure to also get a full night’s sleep. Getting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which usually happens around 60 to 90 minutes of sleep, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems. The more cycles of REM sleep you get, the better rested you will feel. With a good amount of sleep, your mind and body will feel a lot happier.

For more questions or information about the health benefits of sleep, visit Napsounds.com.

Erin Boring is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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