Is There Power in a Power Nap?

Is There Power in a Power Nap?

power nap, sleep tips, renew sleepThe U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 30% of American adults are sleeping six or fewer hours a day. When sleep deprivation leads to daytime drowsiness, many people will medicate it with caffeine when what they really need is a power nap. Taking a 15-20 minute nap can yield some remarkable benefits. A good power nap will reset your system, give you a burst of alertness, and increase your muscle performance.

A nap is better than coffee.

Caffeine is no substitute for a good rest. A cup of coffee can decrease memory performance. It can also make you feel wired making you more prone to mistakes. So instead of picking yourself up during the afternoon lull with a cup of joe consider taking a short nap instead. However, if you do decide you need a sip of coffee in the afternoon, drink it right before your nap. It takes about 20 minutes for the effects of caffeine to set in. If you drink your coffee before your nap, you’ll wake up feeling the effects of the caffeine.

How long should I nap?

It really depends on how much rest you need and how much time you have. A 20 minute power nap is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing or playing piano. If you have longer to sleep then that’s great! Just be sure to go big or go home. A 90 minute nap will give your body enough time to complete a full REM sleep cycle which is great for high level problem solving skills and memory retention. However, waking up in the middle of this cycle is likely to make you feel worse, so avoid naps that are 25-85 minutes long.

When and where are the best times and places to nap?

An hour or two after lunch is when the infamous afternoon lull sets in. For most people, this is the natural time to nap since your blood sugar and energy levels drop about this time. When you nap you want to be in a cool, dark room, free of distractions. If necessary put a Do Not Disturb sign on your office door or wear an eyemask. Also, have a blanket nearby to cover your body with. Your body temperature naturally drops when you’re asleep. After 20 minutes, get right back to whatever it was you were doing. Let your body know that the nap is over by getting some sunlight, taking a walk, or splashing some cold water on your face.

Will naps disrupt my normal sleep cycle?

It depends. Sleep happens in stages. During the sleep when dreams occur (REM sleep) it’s hard for us to wake up. This usually happens 25-85 minutes into sleep. Research suggests that waking up during this time will not only leave you more tired, you’re likely to not sleep well that night. Twenty minute naps aren’t likely to disrupt your sleep cycle since you wake up before you enter REM sleep. 90 minutes naps depend on the person. But in theory, if you wake up before going into another REM cycle, the nap shouldn’t disrupt your nighttime sleep. Just be sure you do not nap longer than 90 minutes, and that you’re not napping too late in the day.

More and more studies show an increased risk of mortality for those that report less than six or seven hours of sleep per night. Not going to bed on time is one thing, but if you’re getting eight or more hours a night and you’re still drowsy in the morning, you may have a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. At Renew Dental, we want you to get the best sleep you can.

If you are not sleeping well, we can screen for signs of obstructive sleep apnea and help you get treatment that’s right for you. CPAP machines with mask and hoses are not the only treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea. We can work with your sleep specialist or your Primary Care doctor to fit you for a dental appliance, which looks much like an orthodontic retainer, to keep your respiratory system open and free from blockage. To learn more about sleep apnea, give us a call at (662) 823-7900!

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