An Afternoon Siesta

An Afternoon Siesta

If one can squeeze some time off from a day, napping is a great option to catch up on lost sleep, feel rested or increase alertness, as many famous daytime nappers like Albert Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci would tell you.

Napping increases our cognitive function, something which is required as we are forced to work in confinement, isolation and under increased stress.

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  • Napping helps our brain clean up excess waste products, or ‘brain junk’, providing the brain with replenished energy stores.
  • They prevent instability in the neurological networks.
  • Longer sleep which involves the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage helps in our long and short-term memory, strengthening new connections and motor skills.
  • Frequent napping may cause insomnia and high blood pressure in some people, so one can check how their body functions before building a napping habit.

An afternoon power nap of 10 to 30 minutes are highly reccomended for increasing energy, and longer naps help in general body restoration and increased effectiveness of memory, at the cost of feeling drowsy when you wake up.

Drinking coffee before a nap helps us wake up without the feeling of drowsiness, along with more alertness.

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The best time to nap

The most natural time to take a nap, based on our circadian rhythms, is in the afternoon sometime between 2 and 4pm. 

The ideal time to snooze is when a nap would contain a good balance of slow wave and REM sleep. This balance typically occurs 6 to 8 hours after waking.

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Timing is key

Plan your nap for the time when your body is naturally sleepier and you’re more likely to fall asleep.

Everybody, no matter if they live in a warm or cold climate or if they’ve eaten a big meal, experiences these subtle changes at bedtime and, to a lesser extent, in the afternoon — usually around six to eight hours after waking. For most people, “prime napping time falls between 1 and 3 p.m.,”

Basic categories of nap
  • The Preparatory Nap: This is the planned nap. The responsible nap.
  • The Habitual Nap: You make time for it regularly. It's a habit and it's scheduled.
  • The Emergency Nap: taken out of bleary-eyed, foggy-headed necessity. They are a symptom of poor sleep hygiene, and they can strike at any time.

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