Love napping in afternoon? Expert on ideal time and duration for taking a nap
- An expert on ideal time and duration of a nap in order to reap maximum health benefits
There are many benefits of an afternoon siesta that can be reaped only if you perfect the art of napping. A nap can refresh you or make you super-dull, depending on your approach towards it. A power nap could easily turn into a long slumber if you give in to your urge for sleeping a little more than required, and can slow you down instead of re-energising you. Sleep for 1 hour or more and you would be prone to lethargy and reduced productivity for the remaining day. Doze off for 10-20 minutes and chances are you may feel refreshed, stress-free and ready to face the world with fresh energy once again. (Also read: Do you feel addicted to sleep? Expert on why you may crave too many naps)
Studies say that when a person wakes up after a long nap, it sets in sleep inertia, because of which one may experience drowsiness and impaired cognitive performance throughout the day. Research analyzed by the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that those who napped for an hour or more per day had 1.82 times the rate of cardiovascular disease than people who didn’t nap. On the other hand, sleeping for less than 30 minutes, offers a variety of benefits from reduced blood pressure, improved attentiveness to a boost in mood.
So what should be the ideal duration of a nap in order to reap maximum health benefits?
"The ideal time for taking a nap can be around 20 minutes to half-an-hour. Do not exceed the time as you will get into a deeper sleep. Napping for too long will make you feel groggy and cranky. So, it is better to avoid sleeping for more than 30 minutes. Napping for a longer time will interfere with your nighttime sleep," says Dr Vikrant Shah, Consulting Physician, Intensivist and Infection Disease Specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital Chembur.
What is the right time to take a nap?
While many people may be tempted to take a nap post wrapping up work in the evening, it is a wrong time to fall asleep, says expert.
"Napping between about 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm can be helpful for everyone. Do not take a nap after 4:00 pm as it can again interfere with your nighttime sleep. Keep it comfortable and short. Choose a quiet room or place for taking a nap at an ideal temperature. The place shouldn’t be too hot or too cold and avoid any distractions," says Dr Shah.
Here are all the benefits of a short nap:
Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease: Napping can have various health benefits. Lack of sleep causes heart problems. But napping can help you to keep them at bay. Napping will lower your blood pressure that in turn will prevent heart problems.
Improves memory and concentration: Napping can be beneficial for one’s cognitive health. It can help you to keep your memory intact.
Will make you less impulsive: If you happen to be restless, irritated, frustrated, or anxious then napping regularly can reduce these symptoms.
Good for emotional well-being: A short and brief nap is effective in managing emotions.
Increases alertness: Have a problem focusing on work or other activities? Then, a nap can help you stay alert.
Helps to overcome fatigue: Are you tired all the time? A brief nap can help relax and refresh you.
Perk up your mood: If you are feeling low then a quick nap can lift your mood.
Reduces stress: If you are under tremendous pressure then napping can help de-stress you.