The power of the nap
Sleep is essential to our mental and physical health, and here at Restonic, it’s no secret how much we believe in the power of sleep. While sleep may be considered a six- to eight-hour nighttime-only activity for some, research confirms that a 20- to 90-minute nap can also provide benefits.
For example, based on research done with almost 3,000 Chinese pensioners, scientists found that those who napped for 30 to 90 minutes could recall words more efficiently than those who didn’t sleep. They were also better at drawing figures – another sign of improved cognitive function.
Types of naps
There are different types of naps for different purposes. Here are a few:
1. Fulfilment naps
These are the naps children need while they are still growing. Whether scheduled or spontaneous, children outgrow their need to nap once their growth slows down and their days start filling up with educational responsibilities.
2. Essential nap
This is the nap you need while recovering from illness. While some may think it is due to the drowsiness side effect caused by medication, the fact is that our bodies need rest to recover from viruses or infections.
3. Recovery naps
These naps compensate for sleep deprivation. For example, those who have found themselves up all night with insomnia, meeting a deadline, or caring for loved ones need a recovery nap to make up for their sleep loss.
4. Preventative naps
These are naps to prepare for something coming up. For example, experienced night-shift workers refine preventative naps to an art and have a snooze before they start their shift to ensure they can power through the night.
5. Appetitive nap
These naps are taken by those who enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of napping. Usually saved for the weekends or holidays, these naps are valued by people who find their snooze relaxing and energising.
The golden hour-ish
When we fall asleep, we move through various sleep stages, so the key to reaping the rewards of a nap is to find that just-right length.
While 5-minute naps are much too short, sleeping for longer than 90 minutes can lead to sleep inertia due to crossing the line into a deep sleep. Basically, when you try to wake up after that, you can feel groggy due to having initiated what is essentially a second sleep.
Sleeping for longer than this may also interfere with your night-time routine. Napping might also not be for everyone (if you find napping interferes with your night-time sleeping, we’re talking about you).
Finding a happy medium is key to making naps work.
The benefits of napping
If you want to tap into a burst of energy and rejuvenate your mind, napping can help to:
- Reduce daytime sleepiness
- Improve learning
- Form memories
- Regulate emotions
Check out our helpful tips on which power nap length would suit your needs, then give it a try.
Climb in bed, loosen tight waistbands or collars (or strip down completely), grab a cosy blanket and block out the light with an eye mask or block-out curtains and close your eyes.
Having a comfortable sleep surface is the key to success to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Our Sleep Blog has loads of tips on choosing the best bed for you and more.