Who doesn’t love nap time? Nothing feels better than getting a power snooze when you feel like you’re running out of steam.
A nap is typically a short period of sleep taken during the day, from anywhere between 20 to 60 minutes. Typically we take a nap out of habit, or to combat our tiredness and fatigue.
It’s a ubiquitous experience that we all indulge in from time to time, but how long should we nap for? What are the benefits of napping? And what are some tips to get the best naps of our lives? Find all the answers you need right here.
There are several categories of naps, each serving a different purpose. Knowing the goal of your mid-day sleep schedule can help make sure you get the most out of your sleep.
Let’s take a look at the different types of naps:
Aside from reducing sleepiness and fatigue, napping provides many other benefits to the body. Even if you’ve gotten a sufficient amount of sleep the night before, a daytime nap can still provide you with the following benefits:
Napping has been shown to improve memory consolidation, which is the process by which new memories are strengthened and integrated into existing neural networks. During sleep, the brain replays and consolidates memories, transferring them from short-term storage to long-term memory.
Napping can help facilitate this process by providing a period of uninterrupted rest, allowing us to better retain information we've learned throughout the day. They can improve memory retention for a variety of tasks, including verbal learning, spatial memory, and motor skills.
Naps have been found to improve a wide range of cognitive abilities, such as learning, procedural skills, executive function, and attention. They also provide a chance for our brains to rest and recharge, leading to increased focus and alertness upon waking.
Additionally, napping can boost creativity by allowing our minds to wander and make connections between ideas. Whether it's a short power nap or a longer period of rest, taking time to nap can be a valuable tool for enhancing our cognitive abilities and overall productivity.
When we feel fatigued, a nap can help restore our energy levels. Napping allows our body to rest and recharge, providing us with a quick boost of energy that helps us feel more alert and focused.
Napping also helps reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol. When we are under stress, our body produces cortisol, which contributes to fatigue and other negative health effects. Taking a nap promotes relaxation, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
When we are well-rested, our brain is better able to process information, make decisions, and solve problems, reducing the mental strain that can lead to stress and fatigue.
Napping can help improve one’s mood by reducing feelings of irritability and improving emotional stability. When we are sleep-deprived or fatigued, we are more likely to feel irritable, moody, and emotionally unstable. Napping can help counteract these negative effects by providing our body with the rest and recovery it needs.
During sleep, our brain is able to process and consolidate information, and allows us to better regulate our emotions. Additionally, napping can help us reset and recharge our mental and emotional energy. By taking a short nap, we feel more positive, refreshed, and ready to face the rest of the day.
There are certain things you need to consider when you’re taking a nap, to make sure your napping doesn’t lead to sleep inertia. This is the feeling of sleepiness one has after waking from a nap, which includes disorientation and an inability to focus.
The ideal nap time is in the early afternoon before 3pm, to avoid any interference with your sleep at night. To determine the most optimal nap time for you, calculate the halfway point between the time you wake up and the time you intend to go to bed — and schedule your nap then.
Other personal factors such as your age, consumption of any medication, your need for sleep and your regular sleeping schedule can also play a role in determining the best time of the day to take a nap. Find out what works best for you.
Several studies have shown that the ideal nap length can be as short as 10 minutes, and can yield many benefits. Naps that don’t go past 30 minutes are most of the time referred to as power naps, because they give you the benefits of sleep without the grogginess after.
Napping for more than 30 minutes can trigger the body’s rapid eye movement or REM. This is the body’s sleep phase where chemicals are released into the bloodstream, which shifts the body into a deeper sleep mode. Going too deep into your sleep cycle while napping can lead to you feeling groggy and disoriented after waking up, and struggling to sleep later at night.
You can’t really have a good nap if there’s music blasting in the background or if someone’s typing away at their keyboard. Ensure that you have a soothing space that’s serene, free of any distractions, at a comfortable temperature you can settle into, and dim or dark so you can really make the most of your nap time.
Aside from making sure you are optimising your nap time effectively, supplements for sleep can also help improve the quality of rest you’re getting from your naps.
Research has found that ashwagandha contains triethylene glycol, which brings on sleepiness. This helps improve the quality of sleep and helps the body fall asleep quicker. A non-invasive sleep study also found that after taking ashwagandha for six weeks, participants described their sleep as 72% better on average.
Ashwagandha can come in the form of a powder, tea, tincture, or tablets. It can also be mixed with other vitamins and herbs to support health.
Napping can be a helpful way to make sure the body gets enough rest, even during long and busy days. And if you find that your naps aren’t leaving you rejuvenated and revitalised, then why not consider taking supplements to give you the sleep benefits you need?
If you don’t know where to get Ashwagandha supplements, why not build your own vitamin pack with Vitable? All you have to do is complete a short online quiz, and you’ll get a vitamin combination personalised to your unique health needs (from over 1.2 million possible combinations) — how amazing is that!
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Find out more about other supplements we have here at Vitable:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.