Take a catnap


| 7 Comments

In other regions of the world they have siesta time, which is a time for a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal.  I have noticed that I always seem to get sleepy around 2pm, which is exactly the time I need to start getting ready to go to science. Napping should be implemented in our daily working lives to allow us to be more alert and concentrated throughout the day. After a good nap I always feel well rested and full of energy. I think that if people started napping more often throughout their busy workweeks we would get work done more effectively.

Napping allows our bodies to be in a state of relaxation, which takes away from the stress of our daily lives. When studying adults ages 20 to 86, researchers found that taking a short nap at least three times a week significantly decreased risk of heart disease. There are more effective naps then others. For example, the most effective naps are the ones that you fall asleep easily and only nap for a short period of time. Once you wake up you will feel refreshed and energized. However, if you nap for too long you will most likely wake up feeling groggy and even more tiered then you were before. The best time during the day is "1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., when your energy level dips due to a rise in the hormone melatonin at that time of day." I find this interesting because I usually get the most tiered around 2pm, which is just around the prime napping hours. You should not nap 3 hours before your bedtime because that could interfere with your sleep at night. You may have noticed that napping "fights fatigue and boosts your mood, but it also improves your righ-brain function, the side responsible for creativity and long-term memory." Napping on a day-to-day basis can improve performance making your reaction time much quicker as well as improving memory and making fewer mistakes through out the day.

Overall I have come to the conclusion that we need more naps in our lives to be more productive and efficient. Next time you are feeling sleepy during your busy day don't be embarrassed to go and take a quick catnap. 

Sources:

http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2007/10/when-is-the-best-time-to-sleep/

http://longevity.about.com/od/sleep/a/napping_tips.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/napping/MY01383

http://www.fitsugar.com/Napping-Good-You-31123683

47c54ddb960fa69d_woman-sleeping-in-bed.xxxlarge.jpg

7 Comments

I usually take long naps (about two to three hours) and find myself more tired than I was before. This always baffled my mind because I figured any sleep would improve how tired I was previously feeling. After reading this blog I now know when the best time to take a nap and this will significantly help me in the future. The website I searched states that scientists have found that naps actually help to lessen the stress that you are feeling and that a nap can "protect brain circuits from overuse". This information especially helps when finals are coming up. http://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/how-your-brain-benefits-power-nap

I always find that quick catnaps boost my energy levels faster than any cup of coffee ever could. There's something about those short 20 minutes that revive your entire body, ready to take on any challenge. However, when my naps get lengthy, I am quick to hit the snooze button far too often. Especially since I wake up quite earlier than I would like, naps are just a necessity. They improve my overall health when I'm feeling under the weather, and help me accomplish tasks much quicker than normal. I see nothing wrong with napping, and I think they compliment a good night of rest. There's even an app out there that can aid your sleeping based off a schedule. Check it out here http://www.sleepcycle.com/

Hi Nicolle,

I definitely agree with your blog! I don't usually have time to take long naps, so I just nap for about 30 minutes some afternoons. Almost every time I do this, I wake up feeling a lot more refreshed and awake! I have, however overslept during a nap and woken up two hours later. This frustrates me because I end up feeling more drowsy but then when it comes time to go to sleep for the night I can't fall asleep! Because of this I have definitely concluded that little "cat naps" are better for my health! Recently I spent some time in Spain visiting my brother and became accustomed to their siestas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I find that it is at a perfect spot during the day and it's much needed! It made me much more productive afterwards and more motivated to go out and enjoy the city the rest of the day! Here is an interesting article on siestas that I found incase you're interested!
http://www.fluentin3months.com/siestas/

I know that taking naps sometimes when your studying helps store information into your long term memory. This is one reason why if I’m studying late I try to take at least two twenty minute naps which will energize me and hopefully store some of the stuff I’m learning into long term memory so I hopefully remember for the test. I found a study that was done at Umass Amerst that was done on kindergartens and naps, here is a little bit of the article.
“For this study, Spencer and colleagues recruited 40 children from six preschools across western Massachusetts. The researchers taught children a visual-spatial task similar to the game ‘“Memory” ‘in the mornings. In this game, children see a grid of pictures and have to remember where different pictures are located. Each child participated in two conditions.
In one condition, the children were encouraged to nap during their regular classroom nap opportunity. Naps lasted an average of 77 minutes as recorded by observers in the classroom. In the second condition, children were kept awake for the same amount of time. Memory for the game was tested after the nap and wake conditions and again the following day to see whether nighttime sleep affected performance.
Children forgot significantly more item locations on the memory test when they had not taken a nap (65 percent accuracy), compared to when they did nap (75 percent accuracy). Thus following a nap, children recalled 10 percent more of the test locations than when they had been kept awake.”
Here is the link where I cited the part of the following article. Do you think taking naps can help with memory?

http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/sleep-research-study-finds-daytime-naps

I know that taking naps sometimes when your studying helps store information into your long term memory. This is one reason why if I’m studying late I try to take at least two twenty minute naps which will energize me and hopefully store some of the stuff I’m learning into long term memory so I hopefully remember for the test. I found a study that was done at Umass Amerst that was done on kindergartens and naps, here is a little bit of the article.
“For this study, Spencer and colleagues recruited 40 children from six preschools across western Massachusetts. The researchers taught children a visual-spatial task similar to the game ‘“Memory” ‘in the mornings. In this game, children see a grid of pictures and have to remember where different pictures are located. Each child participated in two conditions.
In one condition, the children were encouraged to nap during their regular classroom nap opportunity. Naps lasted an average of 77 minutes as recorded by observers in the classroom. In the second condition, children were kept awake for the same amount of time. Memory for the game was tested after the nap and wake conditions and again the following day to see whether nighttime sleep affected performance.
Children forgot significantly more item locations on the memory test when they had not taken a nap (65 percent accuracy), compared to when they did nap (75 percent accuracy). Thus following a nap, children recalled 10 percent more of the test locations than when they had been kept awake.”
Here is the link where I cited the part of the following article. Do you think taking naps can help with memory?

http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/sleep-research-study-finds-daytime-naps

Couldn't agree more that a "nap time" is such an intriguing element to be included into our every day schedules. There isn't a better feeling than coming home from class and squeezing in a quick power nap before your next one. The only problem that I have noticed when I take naps is that I have an extremely hard time getting to sleep at night. Napping too frequently during the day can sometimes lead to bad sleep habits. It would almost feel like you are dependent on a nap each day in order to make it through. If you depend on naps during the day, you will most likely feel very fatigued until the time has come in which you take your naps. This could pose a problem especially during hectic weeks, because the mornings would be grueling if you needed to get work done. I do believe that we should nap here and there, as long as you do not make it a habit then I suppose naps are a great idea!

Source:
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20445820_4,00.html

Catnaps are what I try to take, what I end up usually taking are long, long naps that last usually about three hours. However, after reading this I'm definitely going to try and take shorter naps, in fact, I was reading a few articles all of which say that short naps when you are sleepiest increase productivity, better than caffeine or simply ignoring your sleepiness.
Weirdly enough, this article says that there is a small japanese study (which I have been unable to find) that says that drinking caffeine and then sleeping immediately after offers the most refreshing naps.
Anyway, I definitely think that universities and offices should try to offer a 'nap time' - an hour of no class so we can get in a quick nap and then get back to full productivity instead of nodding off during class. It may even be a possibility in the US in a few years, they've already started implementing 'nap-times' in Japan!

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