Guest post by: Stephanie Valentine
Some days feel like the perfect day for the ultimate luxury - and it's free - can you guess what I'm referring to? NAPPING! Today is one of those dark dreary days that seem to invite this luxury. But it is more than a guilty pleasure - it has great health benefits too. So don't feel guilty - go ahead and put your head down and take a nap!
I'm referring to that 15-20 minute power nap. It can be a way to treat sleep deprivation. Some nights you just can't get to bed on time, or you have a bad night's sleep. Napping can help with the resulting sleep deficits. Sara C. Mednick, PhD, sleep expert states that 'You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance' - better than a cup of coffee!
Napping can have physical benefits: the Harvard School of Public Health studied 24,000 adults and found that nappers were 40 percent less likely to die of heart disease than non-nappers. Working men received the most benefit of all.
There are 2 types of daytime naps - each have a different cognitive benefit. The 15-20 minute power nap helps boost motor skills and alertness. A longer nap lasting from 30-60 minutes can help your decision-making skills. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%. In addition to these cognitive benefits, napping also has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation. Anyone who has taken a nap can attest to that - no double-blind-study required.
"A lot of people don't realize that you don't need a really long nap," says Karl Doghramji, director of the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia "Just putting your head down where you are helps."
To avoid your nap interfering with your nighttime sleep, try not to nap too late in the day. Best time to nap is between 1:00-3:00pm.
To get the most out of your power snooze, follow these tips:
Try to keep a regular nap schedule, take a siesta!
Make it quick.
Set your cell phone alarm for 30 minutes or less if you don't want to wake up groggy.
Nap in a dark room or wear an eye mask. Blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster.
Stash a blanket because your body temperature drops while you snooze - always be prepared.
Why not show this post to your boss and inform them how much more productive you will be. They don't call it at 'power' nap for nothing!
No excuses - take out your daytime calendar and book yourself a daily appointment with the Sandman.