Having enough energy to get through each day can be quite a challenge, with all of the many demands that are made on each of us due to our duties at work, as well as the upkeep of our homes, our personal relationships, and our pursuit of our leisure activities.
Of course there’s no substitute for the basics of keeping your stamina up on a daily basis: a good night’s rest will always go a long way towards keeping you in the game all day, every day, and anything else you cobble together will always fall short of all that.
And proper diet does much too, supplying your body with the resources it uses during sleep to restore you and during wakeful hours to keep you going through your time on the clock as well as your time at home. But don’t discount the very real value of a nap.
Opinions vary on naps from person to person and culture to culture: in many countries, an afternoon nap time during which businesses shutter and activities ease is built into every day, which becomes a little longer as a result. But elsewhere, it’s preferred to power through a mid-day energy nadir without a nap that can seem to do more harm than good.
But medical experts say that naps can in fact yield many health benefits, which include improved moods- no surprise to the cranky sleep-deprived- and enhanced memory, as well as better immune function, lower blood pressure, and boosted brain power. Taken all together, it adds up to more than enough benefit to figure out how naps can be done in the most effective way with the least deleterious impact from stopping everything you’re doing.
Experts say that while naps can be very helpful, there are a number of ways in which those who take them go wrong and ultimately undermine the benefits they should be getting from them. To begin with, according to medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic, naps work best when they are kept short, generally within the range of ten to twenty minutes in duration. It may not sound like a lot, but per Gabe Merkin, M.D., just ten minutes can be enough to revive critically needed memory and alertness.
While benefits are still seen at 45 minutes up to an hour, Merkin observes that those taking longer naps in the area of two hours or more are more likely to suffer incidences of serious heart disease than those who take shorter naps or no naps.
Additionally, in what is unlikely to come as any real surprise, naps that are taken later in the afternoon, and therefore closer to the traditional timeframe of regular sleeping hours, have a negative impact on a person’s ability to sleep both promptly and deeply. Therefore it is considered best to restrict napping to the early afternoon, between roughly 1pm and 3pm- perhaps the same time at which you would decide to conclude the drinking of coffee.
Equipped with this information, you’re now ready to take naps like a professional. And while the other tenets of good restfulness- good nutrition and eight hours of night rest- remain important, when others note your improved energy and attitude late in tough days at the office, you can extoll to them the benefits of the ten minute cat nap!