Julianne is a 32-year-old entrepreneur juggling between her three online businesses. She is up by 6 in the morning and goes to bed no earlier than midnight. Her three businesses keep her busy throughout the day. She is also a mother of a five-year-old. She constantly juggles between being a mom and being an entrepreneur. In spite of all this, she manages to be on top of her game all the time. She shows no signs of fatigue. We asked her what her secret was. She gave us a two-word answer: Power Naps.
Yup, power naps it is. Short power naps have incredible health benefits in addition to letting you catch up on lost sleep. Sleep expert Sara C. Mednick says that power naps are a great way to treat sleep deprivation. It increases motor performance and gives a burst of alertness. You don’t need hours of sleep to stave off sleepiness. A few minutes of power nap will do you a world of good and give you an energy boost too.
So, What Is a Power Nap?
A short nap that ends before you enter deeper stages of sleep is known as a power nap. The whole idea behind power naps is to wake up before entering deep sleep or slow-wave sleep. This is the trick. If you fail to wake up before you enter deep sleep and end up waking during it, you will feel a lot more tired and stressed instead of feeling refreshed.
How Long Should Power Naps Be?
Most sleep experts advise power naps of 10-15 minutes while others recommend power naps of up to 20 minutes. Waking up within 10-15 minutes of falling asleep means that you wake up from initial stages of sleep. This is what you should aim for. As each of us is different we will have our own thresholds before we enter deep sleep stages, but it is best not to exceed 30 minutes.
Health Benefits of Power Naps?
Boost Your Alertness
Power naps are a great way to boost your alertness. Rajiv Dhand, a sleep scientist, has studied the effects of power naps. According to his research, power naps reduces fatigues, improves performance and makes you more productive. The study also claims that power naps help you learn too.
Catch Up On Lost Sleep
In today’s hectic world, we all have restless nights and lose sleep. We don’t try to make up for this lost sleep. There are people who even take pride in sleeping less and working overtime. What most of us don’t understand is sleep loss can cause serious damage apart from making you feeling crappy. Hormonal damage is one of the main negative effects of loss of sleep. Catching up on lost sleep is not about sleeping for a whole night. Researchers have shown that negative effects of sleeplessness are reversed by short power naps. Hence, if you are one of them who does not get enough sleep, then you must definitely try to get a few power naps during the day.
A 2008 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research has shown that short power naps are “sufficient to promote declarative memory performance.” This study only confirms what we have known for long. Sleep improves one’s memory. So getting sufficient sleep is vital for good memory. In today’s hectic lifestyle, not all of us can get 8 hours of sound sleep. So, getting a few power naps is ideal to improve your memory and enjoy the benefits of sleep.
Counter Sleep Apnea Effects
Sleep Apnea is really dangerous and many times a precursor of other health conditions such as stroke and heart disease. Extreme fatigue is one of the main causes of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea mainly occurs during the transition into deep sleep. Power naps help with both of these issues. As already mentioned above, power naps reduce fatigue and restore wakefulness. On the other hand, power naps end before entering stages of deep sleep. Hence, power naps are ideal to fight effects of sleep apnea and is often recommended by doctors.
Are you eager to get started? Here is an educational video on power naps to get you started: