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May 08 2017

Power Naps: The Lowdown on Lying Down

Some days just seem to go on forever, and the clock never seems to go fast enough. Sometimes, you just got to take a breather, whether after a long workout or just from lack of sleep, and take a power nap. Power naps are a great way to take a few minutes and give your body enough rest to get through the day. Taking naps is completely natural, and can lead to a healthier sleep schedule… if you do it right. Here’s our lowdown on laying down.

Why should you nap?

Many people will choose coffee over sleep. And while caffeine has its benefits, sleep doesn’t affect your memory performance like a cup of coffee. It will also leave you with that jittery feeling and in a more relaxed state to finish the day strong.

Despite what you might think, taking a short nap every day is completely natural for the human body. 85 percent of mammals naturally sleep in shorter bursts, and people of course tend to sleep for longer amounts of time (averaging 6-8 hours of sleep). Sleep deprivation tends to leave us groggy, and it’s a growing academic. Many of us don’t get the sleep we need, and napping can help alleviate that grogginess.

How long is too long? 

The National Sleep Foundation states that a 20-30 minute nap can boost your performance and keep you alert for the rest of the day. Longer naps can tend to leave people even groggier when you awake. However, there are ways to take longer and shorter naps, and they all have names:

  • If you have no time and you really need to take the edge off, take a ‘nano-nap’. It’s a 2 to 5 minute to can help with extreme drowsiness.
  • Mini-naps are 5-20 minutes. They are also helpful for regaining that much-needed middle-of-the-day energy.
  • Actual Power Naps clock in at about 20 minutes. Not enough to fully fall asleep, but enough to help you feel refreshed.
  • A Lazy Man’s Nap, if you have the time, is a 50-90 minute nap that allows you to experience REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This will make feel refreshed and like you just slept an entire sleep cycle.

Tips for napping during the day

1. Finding a safe place to nap is key. Your job may have a designated lounge, you could nap in your car, you could find an empty classroom, or you can take a nap on a couch at one of the student lounges here on campus. Just find a place that feels safe and comfortable to you.

2. Wherever you are, try to find a darkly lit room or a room with the lights off (hence the suggestion of an empty classroom). If you can’t find a dark room, have a pair of shades handy.

3. Temperature of the room is also important. Try for somewhere not too warm or cool. This will aid in falling asleep faster.

4. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking deep breaths, listening to soothing music or stretching!

Sources:

Napping – National Sleep Foundation

The Secret (and Surprising) Power of Napping – WebMD

How to Power Nap – WikiHow

25 Napping Facts Every College Student Should Know – OnlineCollegeCourses

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