LoveYourBrain Tip: Take A Nap!

TAKE A NAP!

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BRAIN HEALTH | 5.4.2015 | BY DAYA ALEXANDER GRANT, M.S.

 

Ahh to have nap time again.  Many of us yearn for the days when afternoon naps were mandatory and even celebrated.

Humans are part of the 15% of mammals who only sleep once a day.  Whether that’s natural or a result of society’s constructs remains unknown.  But, what is clear is that most people do not get enough rest.

Sleep is important for optimal cognitive functioning, so if we’re not getting enough at night, naps may be a wonderful solution.

How long should you nap?  It depends what your goal is.  And yes, you should set goals for your nap.  Try sleeping:

  • 10-20 minutes for a quick boost in mental clarity and improved reaction time
  • 40-60 minutes to consolidate memories, which will make memory retrieval easier.  However, this length of time means you’ll wake up during deep, slow-wave sleep.  You’ll feel groggy initially, but the cognitive benefits will last several hours.
  • 90 minutes for a full cycle of sleep.  But who has time for that in the middle of the day?

When should you nap?  In the afternoon, ideally, as long as the nap occurs before 4pm.  Otherwise, you run the risk of sleeping poorly at night…or forgetting to set your alarm and waking up at 1am!

If you’re lucky enough to work at a place like Google or the Huffington Post that has sleeping pods, take advantage!  For the rest of us, find a quiet space, set your alarm, close your eyes, and allow your brain to recharge.