Afternoon Snack: Benefits and Common Mistakes
For some, naps are an old-fashioned custom; For others, a quick nap is the best way to quickly recharge your battery. But what does sleep research say about napping? It is believed to have proven health benefits. But a few common mistakes can negate the expected discount. Chronic fatigue can also indicate sleep disorders or illnesses.
Doctor. Michelle Drerup is a psychologist and specialist in sleep disorders at the renowned Cleveland Clinic (USA). In a current article for The Society, she explains the proven benefits of “power napping.” The English term originally hid the good old nap away from bedtime.
Energizing and de-stressing by taking a nap
If you are stuck in the evening streaming your favorite series or just slept badly, you can expect less performance the next day. Many people try to reduce fatigue with coffee and similar wake-ups. But according to psychologists, there is a simple and healthy way to bring new momentum into the day. “Taking a nap can make you feel more energized, alert, and relaxed,” Drerup says.
It not only benefits people suffering from insomnia. A nap can also bring health benefits to others. What can you expect from power napping?
1. Improve performance
As Dr. Drerup explains, taking a short nap can reduce fatigue, improve reaction times, and increase alertness. Psychologists cite various studies that have shown that alertness was increased after a nap, reaction times were faster and logical thinking was improved.
2. Improve Memory
Taking a nap can also be helpful in learning new skills. Research has already shown that people can remember new tasks better after a short nap. One study showed that people who took a one-hour nap were able to remember new information better than those who took a break of the same duration before a test or study for a test. did. Of the three groups, those who slept remembered the best information a week later.
3. Reduce Frustration and Stress
According to Dr. Drape can also help relieve stress and put you in a bad mood. Research has shown that people are less impulsive and better able to deal with frustration after an afternoon nap.
Rules for the perfect afternoon nap
But not all naps are equally effective, warns experts about sleep disorders. Some naps are more helpful than others. Doctor. Drerup explains what to keep in mind while taking a nap so that you can start off comfortably.
don’t take long naps
A nap sprint is better than an afternoon nap marathon, emphasizes the psychologist. Many people who take an afternoon nap make it too long. Short naps are the most relaxing. “For most people, 15 to 30-minute naps are the best strategy,” Dr. Drape. This is long enough to feel refreshed, but not so long that you fall into a state of deep sleep or lose your sleep for the next night.
If you take long naps, there is a risk that you will feel more tired when you wake up than before. According to sleep disorders specialist, this is known as sleep disturbance. This is when we wake up from sleep during the deep sleep phase.
In addition, taking too many naps can reduce sleep pressure, making it difficult to fall asleep in the evening. Then you fall asleep later and wake up exhausted the next day – a real vicious cycle.
Tips for an afternoon nap
“You don’t have to take a nap every day to get the benefits,” Dr. Drape. On days when it settles, a quick nap can be a welcome boost. Also, it is normal for us to feel lethargic in the afternoon. This is due to the natural rhythm of the day. A good time for a short nap is especially when you feel focused and unproductive.
When is the best time to take a nap?
Short naps should also be avoided shortly before bedtime. According to experts in sleep disorders, this can lead to disrupted night’s sleep. “If you’re waking up at a normal time, try to avoid taking naps after 2 or 3 p.m.,” advises the psychologist.
However, there is one exception: “If you work shifts, an evening nap before the shift starts can help keep you awake,” says Dr. Drape. Likewise, taking a nap before a long drive can help ensure that you are not falling asleep while driving and that you are focused.
According to experts, some people naturally sleep better during daylight hours. As people get older, naps are often found to be more helpful. “As we get older, our sleep becomes easier and we wake up more often during the night,” Dr. Drape. So a nap in the afternoon can help especially well for older adults.
Persistent fatigue may indicate illness
If a person is not able to go through the whole day continuously without naps, it could be a sign of a health problem. “Long and frequent naps during the day may be a sign of a sleep disorder or another medical problem,” Dr. Drape. In this case, medical advice should be taken. You can find out more about this in this article: “Chronic Fatigue – Causes and Treatment“. (VB)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He cannot take the place of visiting the doctor.
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