I just finished an eight-minute nap less than an hour ago. It was 3:30ish in the afternoon when I awoke. It is not uncommon for me to take short naps two or three times a week.
Many people want to take a nap after lunch – the hypoglycemic low after a meal. Some people take a daily nap because of their culture. A few people take naps nearly every day because they do not sleep well at night.
I set my alarm for 13 minutes and usually wake with several minutes remaining. Six to twelve minutes usually revives me, and I feel much better – mentally and physically.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319. Are naps beneficial for healthy people? Yes, naps offer full-body relaxation, increase alertness (for many), and improve mood, memory, and more. Some claim they have faster reaction times after napping than before. A few people find that a short nap (minutes) cannot give them any benefit. They wake up groggy and disoriented.
Shift workers have a difficult time with sleep schedules. My daughter works the late shift several days each week. It takes a full day (sometimes more than a day) to recover when changing from being awake at night to sleep at night.
Good, Bad, and Ugly Naps
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping. A nap is a short interval of sleep. Not everyone benefits from naps. Many can relax and recharge when others find them disastrous – ruining their regular sleep cycles at night.
We sleep in stages (https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/stages-of-sleep), and some experts claim that a five-minute nap is not long enough to benefit from the first stage of sleep. Others argue that sleeping over 30 minutes can be detrimental. What is the right amount of time? It depends on many factors. Ten to twenty minutes seems to be the norm.
I allow my body to dictate what it needs. I may feel great, being productive, and without much stress. I lay down for a ten-minute nap and end up sleeping for 30 minutes or longer. My body is telling me that it needs a little extra nap time.
We know what a hunger pang is – that need for food. Homeostatic sleep drive is similar – the need for sleep. That need for sleep is usually the lowest after you awaken, and it increases during the day so that you can go to sleep quickly at night. Stress, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, antihistamines, and several prescription drugs disrupt normal sleep and cause the need for sleep – or a nap – in the middle of the day.
People getting quality sleep every night get sick less often. They find it easier to manage weight. The risk of diabetes and heart disease is lower. They typically manage stress more efficiently. Work and social habits are easy to sustain. Quality sleep boosts your immune system and improves memory.
The reverse is true when quality sleep is not maintained over time: health issues, higher risks for disease, overweight, more stress, etc. A nap can sometimes offset a bit of the adverse problems with poor quality sleep, but not always. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends a twenty-minute rest when a driver has difficulty staying awake when driving.
Eating & Drinking – Naps & Sleeping
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-limit-alcohol-before-bed-for-better-sleep/. Eating before going to bed can disrupt sleep cycles. Consuming alcohol before bedtime is a bit worse. Alcohol causes the digestive processes to stop until all alcohol is processed from the body. Then the digestive process starts – again.
You might notice after a large meal with a few drinks that you can fall asleep quickly, yet wake up at two or three a.m. – wide awake. Your liver has processed the alcohol as it does other toxins, and your meal will resume the digestive process. Some people can return to sleep easily, and others cannot.
Drinking and napping have similar results. That afternoon nap can extend well beyond thirty minutes when alcohol is introduced into the equation of your afternoon lifestyle. It is compounded when you are stressed, tired, or have not been getting decent sleep.
Usually, a nap is refreshing, but an extended nap – lasting hours can disrupt the normal sleep cycle at night and ruin you for a day or two.
Short naps, some people refer to them as power naps, work great for some people – not all. A ten to twenty-minute nap a couple of times a week can provide significant health benefits, just like hours of quality sleep every night.
If you lay down to take a quick nap, I suggest you darken your surroundings if you can. It is one less disturbance when you are trying to get a few minutes of rest and relaxation. Like sleeping at night, you want to eliminate as many distractions as possible – people, noise, aromas, etc.
I set my alarm usually for 13 minutes and almost always awaken with five- or six minutes left. Once I am fully relaxed, I have accomplished my purpose of taking a nap – a short respite from the world around me – just enough time to quickly recharge my mental batteries and begin fresh again.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com