The modern American culture which can be said to be workaholic considers napping as characteristic of lazy people or those with a lot of free time. Despite the fact that napping can provide certain benefits, everyone, it doesn’t work for busy people and those who are pressed for time.
The Benefits of Napping
- Prevents burnout and reverses information overload
- Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes
- Improves your senses and creativity
- Improves health
- Improved mood
- Reduced fatigue
- Increases alertness
- Improves learning and working memory
The Drawbacks of Napping
As mentioned in the very beginning, napping simply doesn’t work for everyone and some people may even experience adverse side effects instead of reaping its benefits. Sleep inertia and nighttime sleeping issues are the major drawbacks of napping. The first one refers to a condition when you feel sleepy right after taking a nap. Although this stage passes, it takes some time until you become able to focus. Nighttime sleeping issues are also very common, including insomnia and disruption of the natural sleeping pattern.
Stages of Sleep
Before listing the four basic naps and their benefits, it is important to explain each sleep stage. There are 5 stages of sleep (1, 2, 3, 4 and REM), each of the cycles lasts for 90-100 minutes. This is the time when the nap becomes of utmost importance in regard to the benefit you want to reap from your nap.
The first stage is the shortest and it is a transition between the first stage and the deeper levels of sleep.
During this stage, you basically spend the bulk of your speed. The basic and complex motors skills, energy, stamina, and your senses are enhanced during this period.
Stages 3 and 4
The body stops releasing cortisol during these stages and the growth hormone begins restoring the body, lowering stress, metabolizing fats, repairing tissues, and removing carbs from the body. The mind undergoes a similar process, ignoring old memories and making enough room for new information.
This stage is responsible for the transfer of short term memories to long term ones, allowing us to learn new information and keep them better.
Length of Naps
If you are looking for an energy and alertness boost, this power nap is right for you! This length prevents inertia and it helps you focus right after waking up. Moreover, due to the fact that you have the ability to get into stage 2, you also have the ability to boost your stamina during the day.
At this point, the body has started the restorative stages 3 and 4, even though it still needs more time to complete the restorative process. It has been scientifically shown that inability to complete the full process may cause a hangover, inertia, and grogginess which may last for half an hour after waking up.
This length is the best in terms of improving the remembering if names, faces, and facts. The only side effect is the grogginess after waking up.
This is the full cycle of sleep and it includes the deeper stages of sleep like REM. This leads to creativity and improved and emotional memory while excluding side effects like sleep inertia.