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Putting the "Power" in Nap

We live in a demanding fast-paced world. Are you getting a full 8 hours of sleep a night? Most adults don’t.

That is one reason why you might feel a sudden dip in your energy levels when the afternoon comes around (or even as soon as you wake up, we’ve all been there). You are probably most familiar with the phrase, “power nap.” However, what does that exactly entail? How did it get that name? A power nap is a short sleep session that ideally happens between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00 P.M. They normally last between 10-30 minutes. If you sleep longer than this, you run the risk of sleep inertia, the grogginess that will make you feel even more restless when you wake up.

Why do we Need to Nap?

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Most mammals sleep for short periods throughout the day. However, human beings are one of very few mammals that deliberately work while disregarding their basic biological needs. Human beings deprive themselves of sleep. Why is that exactly? Think about the world we live in today. We run from place to place. We live in a 24/7 world that is full of demanding responsibilities and sudden deadlines. With the endless “to do” lists and so little time, the only option would be to shave off those precious hours of sleep to catch up right?

Human beings have integrated sleep into one long period, but our bodies are programmed for two periods of intense sleepiness. One begins within the early hours of the morning, normally around 2:00 A.M. and 4 A.M. The other period is a midday wave of drowsiness, sometime around 1:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. This midday sudden drowsiness stems from an inactive phase in our physiology that depresses our memory, reaction time, mood, coordination, and alertness. That is why a short nap, even 10 minutes, can have great health benefits and increase productivity throughout the rest of the day. For all those who feel guilty or lazy for napping, these findings should come as good news! You, in all reality, become more productive when you take a few minutes to snooze.

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You might be asking yourself, how can such a short amount of sleep have such a big impact? Sleep scientist, Sara Mednick, reported that a 10-20 minute nap has shown to give a quick boost of alertness and improve long-term memory. However, napping does much more than just give you a quick energy boost!

There are multiple proven health benefits to taking naps. Taking power naps have proven to boost brain activity, such as; creativity, problem-solving, statistical learning, and verbal memory. Naps can also sharpen your focus, elongate your attention span, and quicken your reaction time. Napping has also proven to be good for your heart health, stress levels, blood pressure, and weight management. Are you convinced yet to take a daily nap? We sure are.

Now that you’ve gained a sound understanding of some of the benefits to sleep, It’s also important to understand the mechanics behind it.

How Long Should I Nap?

The key to waking up refreshed from a nap is all about timing. An average 20 minutes is all you need. Taking a 20 minute nap will leave you in the lightest stage of non-REM sleep, predictably stage two. This makes it a lot easier to wake up and continue with your day. It’s a good suggestion to set an alarm so you don’t snooze for too long. When you sleep for too long, you run the risk of waking up groggy.

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If you nap for 30-60 minutes, you’ll dive into the deeper stages of sleep, where your brain waves slow down, making you feel as if you have a sleep hangover. People refer to this stage of waking up as feeling “foggy” as they are experiencing decreased cognitive function. If you are going to sleep for this long, it may not be worth it. The likelihood of waking up feeling more tired than you were before is high.

If you have the time of day to lie down for 90 minutes, your body should be able to make it through a complete sleep cycle. This is when you go from the lightest stage through the deepest stage of sleep and back again, making you feel more refreshed when you wake up. Interestingly enough, sleeping for 90 minutes has been shown to boost memory and creativity.

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When the time does come to lie down and take a nap, many people can find it difficult to fall asleep due to overthinking and the stresses of the day. KulKote can help with that. Choosing a KulKote Certified Product, such as a pillow or bedding, can help regulate your body temperature; therefore, helping you fall asleep faster. It’s time to reap those benefits of napping!