"You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping," says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! “Naps” are always known to vary! You can take a short nap during a busy work day and wake up feeling refreshed, ready to greet the world. Other times, you wake up feeling disoriented, groggy, and even more exhausted!
So what is the difference between an awesome nap and a terrible one?
The answer simply comes down to which stage of sleep you’re waking up in. The perfect nap stays in stages one and two. Deep sleep of stages three and four are badness. They mess with your circadian rhythm, which basically leads your body to feel like it’s a different time than it really is. A lot like jet lag.
When you sleep you pass through different stages of sleep, known together as a “sleep cycle”. These stages include light sleep, deep sleep (which is believed to be the stage in which the body repairs itself), and rapid-eye movement sleep, or REM sleep (during which the mind is repaired).
The 20-minute power nap -- sometimes called the stage 2 nap -- is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano.
Many experts advise to keep the nap between 15 and 30 minutes, as sleeping longer gets you into deeper stages of sleep, from which it’s more difficult to awaken.
In a 2006 study, researchers at the Sleep Medicine and Research Center affiliated with St. John's Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital in suburban St. Louis, MO, looked at the effectiveness of taking naps and consuming caffeine to cope with sleepiness during the night shift. They found that both naps and caffeine improved alertness and performance among night shift workers and that the combination of naps and caffeine had the most beneficial effect.
James K. Walsh, PhD, one of the researchers who conducted the study, explains, "Because of the body's propensity for sleep at night, being alert and productive on the night shift can be challenging, even if you've had enough daytime sleep." "Napping before work combined with consuming caffeine while on the job is an effective strategy for remaining alert on the night shift." #healthgeekaccount