Studies have shown that there are multiple benefits to taking short afternoon naps, for both children and adults.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered that children who didn’t take their afternoon nap didn’t display much joy and interest, had a higher level of anxiety, and lower problem solving skills compared to children who napped regularly.
And researchers at UC Berkeley found that adults who regularly take advantage of a one-hour afternoon nap have a better learning ability and improved memory function.
One of the key considerations associated with napping is how long of a nap to take.
According to an article at Natural Society, experts say a 10 to 20 minute “power nap” is best for refreshing your mind and increasing energy and alertness. The sleep isn’t as deep as longer naps, which allows you to get right back at your day upon waking.
A 30 minute nap can lead to 30 minutes of grogginess, as you are often waking just as your body enters the deeper stages of sleep. You’ll experience some of that same fogginess if you sleep for an hour, but 60 minute naps are good for memory boosting.
The longest naps—around 90 minutes—are good for those people who just don’t get enough sleep at night. It’s a complete sleep cycle and can improve emotional memory and creativity.
Many Europeans have bought into the benefits of napping, and make it part of their daily routine.
In the U.S., however, napping is often considered a sign of laziness.
I know that when I fall asleep in the middle of an afternoon, I feel guilty about it, like I’ve wasted a key part of the day. I’m also concerned that if I do take a nap, it is going to effect my normal sleeping routine. As a result, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously made plans for an afternoon nap. (That’s not to say I’ve never taken a nap. There have been times, usually while I’m been reading the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) latest pronouncements, that I’ve inadvertently fallen asleep.)
The research noted above seems to support multiple benefits associated with napping, thus offering a good counter-argument to the laziness issue mentioned previously.
And apparently napping is a completely natural phenomena in the circadian (sleep-wake cycle) rhythm. Knowing that eliminates another of my major concerns about napping, that it would keep m up at night.
So I may have to just give it a try (I know it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it), and given that Villanova has already announced that the school is closed tomorrow because of an impending snow storm, it seems like I’ll be able to start “researching” this right away.