Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Go Ahead and Take Cat Naps

cat-napCat naps. Power naps. Naps rejuvenate you and this has been proven scientifically. Considering the lives we live most of us are sleep deprived and napping is one of the most powerful ways to make deposits in your overdrawn sleep account. Sleep is cumulative. Don’t sleep well one day and you will feel the impact the other day. Don’t sleep for days together and you’ll build up sleep deficit.
Naps are good both for weekends and weekdays. Compare naps to the ‘save’ button on your computer and they help you recharge and face the latter part of the day with increased enthusiasm.

What napping does to you?

 
Planned nap improves your performance and the effect lasts for almost three to four hours. Sleep specialists at NASA did a study with pilots to discover the effect of the nap. Two pilots were given a planned nap in the cockpit for less than half an hour. The results were encouraging and emphasized the importance of naps.
In fact, we all have experienced that as the day moves ahead most of us are not that energetic and become a bit moody as well. We tend to forget too a whole lot of details. What does this mean? This implies that your body needs rest to rejuvenate.

How long the rest should be?
Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning (though the last two hours of morning sleep have special benefits of their own). The body seems to be designed for this, as most people’s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon, about 8 hours after we wake up

Naps can be as brief as less than a minute to as long as just more than half an hour. But the original power nap is just for twenty minutes. Sleep specialists say that this kind of nap improves muscle memory and clears the brain of useless built-p information, which helps with long term memory.

Guide to nap

  1. Look for signals—These can be in form of irritation, decreased energy, or you just tired and need a quick recharge.
  2. Timing—Naps are more effective in the afternoon. Ideally, your body is recharged after a long night sleep and the level of energy begins to wane in the latter part of afternoon.
  3. How long—Naps should be less than 30 minutes. If you nap any longer you’ll wake up with a heavy head.
  4. Control your environment—Try to be as comfortable you can. Get a eye-mask, stay still or recline on your chair, but avoid cuddling in a blanket as this is going to make you lazy.
  5. Fix the alarm—This is important so that your power nap doesn’t drift in sleep.

Most importantly, napping doesn’t mean that you can diminish the importance of sleep. All said and done, if you get solid eight hours of sound sleep at night, you’ll feel energetic and refreshed through out the day.

 

Archana Darshan

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Category: Sleep Well
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