How To Benefit From A Daily Nap
Last updated on : April 01 2019
This article explains why naps are beneficial for you, and the best practices for napping effectively.
Are Naps Good For You
Sleeping Beauty never had to deal with dark circles around her eyes, because she slept so well.
While we are not suggesting that you hibernate for months, studies indicate that a short snooze can make a big difference to your general well being, and your overall beauty and appeal.
Here’s why napping, appropriately done once a day, can be right for you.
Naps rejuvenate your skin
All of us have tried at least a few beauty products that promise a bright, beautiful skin.
But there may be a more straightforward, natural way to achieve the glowing skin you always wanted —by napping.
Napping once in a day works wonders because your skin renews itself by growing new cells to replace older ones as you sleep. This repair and rebalancing mode is not only good for your skin but the entire body.
A regular nap improves your memory
Your working memory continually tackles complex tasks every day. It needs you to concentrate on a particular thing even as you keep several others in mind.
We all know the struggle and frustration caused by lack of concentration, but the good news is that a power nap can be a lot of help.
When you sleep, your retention power is improved as more recent thoughts get transferred to the part of your brain where you store long-term memories.
In short, napping can develop your thought processes and agility to learn, and improve your concentration.
Naps make you more alert
We all know the feeling of energy dipping by afternoon - and hate it most when there is a long way to go before our hectic day ends.
As you feel sleepy, you tend to lose focus and slow down, and this is something that can cause trouble in the workplace or even at home.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nap of 20-30 minutes at such times to restore alertness without having to deal with a tired feeling.
Naps make you healthier
Women today juggle multiple roles and often miss out on the required amount of sleep.
You may brush lack of sleep under the carpet, but it has several adverse effects on your health.
It leads to excessive amounts of cortisol in your body causing depression and anxiety, it wreaks havoc on your learning and memory skills, and it weakens your immune system. Lastly, it can lead to glucose intolerance, which causes weight gain.
A regular nap can solve these issues as your body gets the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate.
Take a nap to increase productivity
You can make as many schedules as you wish for better time management, but if you're sleepy, none of these schedules will do much for your productivity.
Instead, napping for 20 minutes a day will help boost your productivity levels by improving your energy, as demonstrated by a Harvard University study.
Napping prevents burnout
Our age of cut-throat competition and social media buzz builds constant frustration and high levels of stress, ultimately resulting in exhaustion and burnout in people of all ages.
To prevent burnout from happening to you, get into the habit of taking a short snooze daily—it works similar to a system reboot of your gadgets.
The benefits of daily napping are many, both for your health and your curves. However, it is essential to do it correctly.
According to experts, 10-20 minutes is the ideal nap time to recharge you both mentally and physically, without interfering with your night-time sleep.
Check out the tips below on how to develop a best practices napping methodology.
How To Nap Effectively
We now know that making naps part of your daily schedule, or stealing the time whenever you can is right for you. Developing a napping method is an excellent way to maximize the time you have - ensuring you get the most beautiful sleep you can.
Here are some proven tips.
Understand sleep cycles
Usually, we pass through four to five stages as we sleep: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again.
A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 75 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 20 minutes.
The first few cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep but later in the night, REM periods lengthen and deep sleep time decreases.
The important takeaway is that each stage within a cycle lasts approximately 5 to 20 mins and that you typically don't hit deep sleep until after 45 mins.
Take shorter rather than longer naps
Given typical sleep cycles, a power-nap under 20 mins is enough for you to gain the full range of benefits, and also fits better into a working or otherwise busy day.
If you need longer, don't exceed 45 mins as this risks you transitioning into much deeper sleep and feeling groggy when waking up.
However, if you have the time, aim for at least 90 minutes. This duration will allow you to work through all the stages of sleep and avoid the disorientation associated with waking up too early.
Plan your nap times
Plan to take a nap rather than being tired forcing you into one.
It's better to take a nap when you suspect you'll need one, than falling asleep when you need to be alert.
So if you're driving, have to concentrate at work or perform any other task requiring alertness try coordinating the activity with a nap before.
Find a comfortable and quiet place
You'll sleep far better if you can lie down comfortably in a quiet and dark place. Trying to nap sitting up can take you significantly longer to fall asleep. And adding noise and light increases falling-asleep time even further.
If you've no choice, find a comfortable chair, wear an eyeshade and earplugs. Or play soft relaxing music to drown out background sounds that might stop you from sleeping.
Practice meditation or relaxation techniques
Falling asleep fast needs your mind and body relaxed, with no nagging thoughts or stresses to interrupt or get in the way.
Meditation is a perfect way to relax your body and still your mind.
For an essential and useful technique try relaxing your muscles in stages from your head down to the tips of your toes while focussing on your breathing. Combine with a visualization of somewhere calming for added benefit.
You can also try repeating a positive mantra to push yourself gently into sleep. Keep count on your fingers rotating through each hand until you fall asleep - focus on the mantra not allowing any other thought to disturb you.
Mantra's like "I am so happy and grateful now that money comes to me, in increasing confidence, through multiple sources, and on a continuous basis" will leave you feeling positive (and maybe even with ways to get rich) and have a rhythm to them that help brings on sleep fast.
Focus on the repetition and cut out all other thoughts and you'll find yourself drifting off before you've counted out ten fingers.
Try a "caffeine nap."
If you're planning a power-nap of 20 minutes, try taking a cup of coffee just before you decide to sleep. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in, around the same time you'll be waking up.
Studies show that a caffeine nap can leave you more refreshed and alert on waking than just coffee or a nap alone.
Set an alarm
Setting the alarm ensures you wake up within the stipulated time, and that you don't oversleep into deeper stages. Napping is about short effective bursts of sleep and using an alarm helps to stick to this objective.
However, try to wean yourself off an alarm clock, particularly for your nighttime sleep. It's better to train yourself to wake up naturally than suddenly with an alarm clock.
Understanding how much sleep you need, the best times to nap or go to bed, and your circadian rhythms are some techniques to wean you off an alarm.
Embrace Your Daily Nap
Science shows that napping is right for you. So embrace rather than guilting yourself out of one. You'll perform better and accomplish more fully refreshed than tired and in need of sleep.
The Spanish have long understood the benefits of a daily nap, practicing an afternoon siesta with vigor and enthusiasm. Sure this practice might today be in decline, but its basis is thousands of years old because napping is beneficial for you.
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