Friday, November 22, 2013

Daytime Naps Proven to Be Helpful if Done Correctly

Recent studies have found that people who nap periodically throughout the day will actually be more productive than their around-the-clock, energy drink-consuming counterparts. The idea is that napping is a way to "reset the mind" in order to get away from stressful reality for a moment and recharge the body.

Every medical, law, or graduate student would love to admit that napping is beneficial, but they would most likely explain that their time is limited and they would rather spend it preparing for their next test. However, many sleep experts agree that all it takes is a six-minute rest to receive many of the benefits of napping.

During a six-minute power nap, the brain is doing the equivalent of a computer restart. It doesn't have enough time to completely shut down (a full sleep cycle takes 90 minutes), but six minutes is enough time to help relax the mind and improve memory. People who often take six-minute naps will agree that their memory, mood, and alertness are improved after less than 10 minutes of sleep.

As a college student, I often found both six-minute and 90-minute naps to be beneficial. For example, after a stressful day of class, it is recommended to take 90 minutes to "recharge" before diving into homework and other studies. Going through a full 90-minute cycle means that the body goes in and out of deep sleep, which is what we do when sleeping fully at night. People who take 90-minute naps often wake up feeling energized, emotionally stable, and mentally productive. In other words, they wake up in the perfect state for homework.

Naps aren't all good, however. If you do not monitor your sleep and spend more or less time than 6 or 90 minutes, then you could be doing more harm than good. A 60-minute nap seems like a nice, round number, but 60 minutes doesn't allow you to complete an entire sleep cycle, so you will often wake up feeling more tired than when you started. Taking a nap any longer than 6 minutes, but shorter than 90 minutes, will cause this feeling.

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