Afternoon naps,You know you want one but can you have one?
Once a beautiful concept that was a part of our daily routine but slowly faded away as we grew older, is also now an activity that is frowned upon because apparently you are lazy if you nap during the day(Thanks a lot, whoever came up with that).
We only have a few questions we wanted to ask.
Has anyone ever thought about the benefits or how it might actually help you and does napping in the afternoon really make you lazy?
Also, what are the factors that play a role in this whole scenario of why you might or might not nap & lastly, is there a certain way to get the best nap possible.
Why you might or might not need a nap
Let's break this into 3 parts
1- Interestingly a study published in Nature communications showed that daytime napping is biologically driven & not just related to your environment or behaviour. So what the researchers basically found is that there are certain genes that play a factor in you needing more or less sleep or whether you are an early riser and even genes that dictate the quality of your sleep. So together these all play a part in if you need an afternoon nap or not.
2- Obviously apart from this, there have also been studies that have shown that there is a natural drop in alertness in the afternoons because your internal body temperature starts to dip, which your smart brain reads as a signal to conserve energy & prepare for rest & sleep.
3- You probably ate more than you should have & that caused a spike in blood sugar followed by a dip in energy or you just didn’t sleep too well at night which has caused tiredness.
Since we have now hopefully better understood why you might need a nap & others don't, let's look at some of the benefits (If you want to convince someone to let you nap, then this section is for you)
3 big benefits of napping
1- Reduced Stress
While you sleep, your brain uses the time to process emotions, which also increases your ability to tolerate frustration & we all know how much we need that superpower these days. Apart from this a nap also helps regulate your blood pressure.
2- Improved Memory
There was a study in which 2 groups of people were made to memorise a set of cards and then given a 40 minute break in which one of the groups was allowed to nap. After the break when both groups were tested on their memory, the group that napped retained 85% of the patterns compared to just 60% for the group that stayed awake.
(Why did we still do bad in school, maybe another day to discuss that)
3- Improves concentration & focus
A well timed nap can improve focus & your ability to concentrate. A study found that brain activity associated with concentration was stronger in the afternoon for people who napped compared to people who did not nap
Now probably the last thing that is left to be answered is whether there is an optimal way to nap & why do we sometimes wake up as zombies after a nap?
Short answer, YES. Yes there is an optimal way to nap. We know, weird right ? a nap is supposed to be a nap but there surprisingly is a time frame & duration which if you stick to, will actually leave you feeling fresh, energised & the winner of all those sweet benefits.
Now according to some very smart people“The experts”, the ideal time to nap is between 1pm and 4pm because that is when your sugar levels start to drop after lunch causing that slight afternoon lag between your thoughts & actions, since you also need to consider that any later than that will probably interfere with the quality of sleep you get at night.
The next important thing is how much time your nap should last, sorry to say but it's best to keep your naps to less than 20-30 minutes because you are still in light sleep during that time. Now if you sleep more than that, you are at risk of waking up feeling like a zombie.Tired, groggy & maybe even a killing headache, that's because as you move from light sleep to deep sleep to maybe even REM, your body temperature drops, blood flow to the brain decreases, muscles becomes more relaxed and it’s just overall a little stressful for your brain to go from a really deep relaxed state to suddenly being overloaded by activity.
This is called sleep inertia but let's just call it zombie mode.
So now with the power of this information you can do 3 important things
- Convince someone to give into their natural urge for an afternoon nap
- Convince someone to let you peacefully take your afternoon nap
- Nap in the best way possible
Read Good. Nap Good