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Have you ever felt a pang of jealousy while putting a small child down for a nap?
How about when you see your cat napping in a warm sunbeam? Or the dog enjoying some leisurely shuteye?
Most adults can get through a busy day without needing a nap, even if they really want one.
Does it make sense to take time for a nap?
Short naps – power naps – lasting about 30 minutes are most highly recommended for adults, as they provide an energy boost without ruining nighttime drowsiness.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study on NASA military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved their performance and alertness.
Naps can help combat the effects of sleep deprivation, which is a problem for about one third of adult Americans, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We need about seven hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. Sleep deprivation can affect you physically and mentally.
Naps are best used when you have a feeling of extreme fatigue during the day or you know you’ll be up late (working a late shift, for example). A short nap can help you recharge.
The best time of day for a nap is the afternoon, experts say. We naturally hit a little energy slump after lunch, making it the ideal time for a power snooze. You may wake up feeling more relaxed and ready to tackle the afternoon.
One downside of napping: sleep inertia, that feeling of ultra-grogginess you can get when waking up from a daytime nap. Or, if the nap is too long or too close to bedtime, you may have a hard time falling asleep at night. Be sure to set an alarm to wake you after 30 minutes so it’s easier to return to your afternoon tasks.
If you’re going to try a power nap, make sure you find a cool, dark room where you can doze without being disturbed.
You probably wouldn’t feel like you need a nap if you get adequate sleep overnight. Try these tips for a better night’s sleep:
Do you have trouble sleeping? Our Edward-Elmhurst Health Sleep Centers can help you enjoy peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
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