Adults long for the days when they could take a rolled up mat to kindergarten for a daily nap time. Yet busy work days and even busier afternoons filled with the kids’ extracurricular activities and homework battles leave little room for napping. If you do get a chance to take a nap, it can cause you to lose sleep at night, which leaves you feeling even more exhausted the next day. Fortunately, there is a science behind napping that involves types of naps that are best suited for your needs.
Different Types of Naps
Before you lie down to a little midday shut-eye, consider what type of nap you should take. According to Huffington Post, there are three main types of naps that you can add to your rest and rejuvenation routine. These include a power nap, a snooze session, and a full-on nap.
The shortest nap is called a power nap, also known as a cat nap. This type of nap lasts for about 15 minutes, and works wonders for recharging your brain power. You achieve Stage II sleep in the sleep cycle, which will boost your short- and long-term memory. A power nap is a wonderful solution for busy people who need to rejuvenate their mental functions when transitioning between activities, such as working and making dinner.
A snooze session is about 20 to 30 minutes. During this type of nap, you once again reach that Stage II of the sleep cycle. However, the difference between a snooze session and a power nap is that a snooze session is suited for individuals who didn’t get enough sleep the night before. For instance, when you are simply too tired to function and need a nap to reduce fatigue, go with a snooze session.
For best results, you want to have a snooze session within six hours of waking up. Otherwise, you risk disturbing your next night’s sleep. For example, if you woke up at 8 am, then you want to take a snooze session prior to 2 pm.
For those nights where you didn’t get a wink of sleep or you are feeling exhausted from strenuous activity, consider a full-on nap. The National Sleep Foundation states you can sleep for up to 90 minutes in this instance. Keep in mind that if you sleep for longer than 90 minutes, you may have a more difficult time falling asleep in the evening.
Taking a nap this long allows you to sleep through your full sleep cycle. You will wake up feeling completely rested as if you had actually slept the night prior. Sleeping through a full sleep cycle will leave you feeling refreshed rather than waking up in the middle of a deep sleep stage and feeling drowsy.
As with snooze sessions, you want to limit full-on napping to within six hours from when you woke up in the morning. Better yet, take a full-on nap as soon as you can after waking to benefit from the results throughout the rest of your day.
Improve Your Nap Time
When you are ready to take a power nap, snooze session or full-on nap, prepare yourself for it. In order to fall asleep easily, lie down in a dark, quiet room. Wear a pair of earplugs and an eye mask if necessary. This way, you can take advantage of the already-limited amount of time you have for napping. Also, avoid feeling guilty for taking a nap as this is a beneficial practice with positive health benefits.