How to Properly Take a Nap


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Beautiful woman taking break for short sleep in middle of day at home

Mary Miller, writter

Taking naps can be relaxing and rejuvenating, or a nap can destroy your whole sleep cycle.  Interestingly, Salvador Dali, Albert Einstein, Leonardo DaVinci, and Aristotle are big advocates for naps, and they certainly were able to get a lot of deep thinking in their life. Naps also boost memory and enhance creativity. The ideal nap would be between 1-3 p.m. and only last about 10-20 minutes. Naps should be for a limited amount of time because if it exceeds about 40 mins, It may cause sleep inertia. This is when you wake up feeling tired and groggy, which would be the opposite purpose of a nap. The goal when napping is to not go into REM cycle because that can disrupt your night time sleep. REM cycle is the deepest sleep when brain waves slow down and clears the mind and serves as a restart with new extended energy, so going into deep restarting sleep in the middle of the day is not ideal. 

Something you may not have known is that there are different types of naps that help in different scenarios. There is the Recovery nap, which is used to make up for sleep depreciation or lost sleep.  The prophylactic nap, used to prepare for expected sleep loss such as late parties, or long work shifts, and of course the best nap is Appetitive nap, the nap taken for pure enjoyment.

Naps differ for different ages, unfortunately naps are very finicky for teens ages 13-17. This is because oftentimes teens do not get enough sleep at night so a nap could be beneficial, but also easily abused. Teens are easy victims of also sleeping too much which causes sleep inertia. They get stuck between being tired from either not enough sleep or too much sleep. So finding a balance is important otherwise. It is important to have a healthy sleep cycle and understand how naps can fit into your day without harming nighttime sleep.