Sunday, October 31, 2010
Posted on Hello Wellness on Oct 30 2010 9:17PM
Feel like a half-asleep zombie after sitting through a 45-minute presentation by the boss? Well, it might just be the time to catch a few winks. As much as your boss would like to disagree, power napping is actually good for you.
Our bodies seem to be programmed to sleep after lunch. It is believed that our bodies have evolved to trying to drive us out of the midday sun, particularly in tropical countries. Researchers have found in recent years that the human body requires only as much sleep as the brain will allow it. So long as the brain is functioning at full capacity, there’s no great requirement for sleep. But then the brain needs a rest every now and then, and can refresh itself with just a short, 20-minute power nap.
Here's how a short nap can help you:
Focus: Research has shown that even a 10 minute nap can increase your performance, alertness and concentration. A short nap is especially beneficial if you’ve had poor sleep the night before
Sleep better at night: Being “over tired” is a common reason for insomnia, which a short nap may alleviate. Beware, however, of long naps, which can make it more difficult to sleep at night. Ten to thirty minutes or so is best
Improve memory and learning: Research in Germany has shown that even a relatively short nap (20 mintues or so) can have a pronounced effect on memory. Napping also helps give the brain a chance to repair some of the over-used circuits
Drive safely: Sleep experts report that taking a short nap before you begin a long drive can reduce your chances of a “drowsy driving” accident. They also recommend that you pull over and take a 20 minute nap if you feel drowsy. Following that nap with a caffeinated drink before you hit the road again is best
Reduce stress: Since stress is often tied to being tired and overwhelmed, a short nap during the day can be a great stress reliever. You’ll wake feeling more refreshed and better able to cope with the stresses of the day
Cat-naps are no compensation for lack of sleep at night. At the end of the day, you should be able to get the optimal amount of sleep (about seven hours) for your body. Sufficient sleep improves performance, health, and learning and simply makes you feel better.