How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits
We need to rest sometimes. May be some of you will say that there is a lot of work to do. But we should realize that rest is a crucial part of our lives and we can’t ignore it. Actually, we can; but it leads to our immune system getting weaker, and lowers our productivity. May be, some of you will say that they sleep six to seven hours a night and that’s enough for an average grown up body. Well, that’s not quite true.
According to the research made by Sara Mednick, the productivity of an average person reduces through the day. The participants of the study couldn’t increase their efficiency even if stimulated by money. But when researchers asked the participants to take a nap just for one hour — their work productivity increased back to the baseline! So, how does it work?
Structure of Sleep
Our sleep pattern is cyclical. As we sleep, we pass through 5 phases – 1,2,3,4 and Rapid Eye Movement. In the first two stages we can be easily awakened without feeling groggy. By the way, waking up feeling groggy has its own name. It’s called sleep inertia. Anyway, after the first two stages comes deep sleep, when waking up becomes to be a problem. The thing is that sleeping during the first two stages is enough to refresh your thinking and to get a good boost for memory, because brain organizes all information that it had found.
One Day – One Sleep?
By the way, it’s not a widespread fact, but when it comes to mammal’s sleeping cycle mankind is in minority. Only 15% of mammals have a monophasic sleeping pattern. Which means that the other 85% are polyphasic and sleep in portions during the day. For example, wolfs sleep for 10 minutes, than wake up, turn around and than go back to sleep. There are plenty of alternatives sleeping cycles. For example the Barman’s or the Dymaxon’s cycles, when during the day you sleep four or even eight times but for short periods of time. Thus, all your sleep through the day becomes just a number of naps. And it actually works! So, there is no reason to think that we have to be monophasic animals. But if you have an average job with a standardized schedule, you can’t sleep eight times per day. The perfect solution for you is to not lose your productivity is to take a nap. Furthermore, some employers let workers do that and even have a special room in the office.
But nap is important not only for an adult. Studies from the University Colorado Boulder shows that babies between two and a half and three years old who missed their daily nap, have less joy and interest and poorer brain activity. In addition to that, researches from Berkley tell about the importance of a well-rested brain, especially when you are trying to learn a new skill. A little nap can make a room inside your memory for a new information and you’ll learn new things sooner.
So now you know why taking a nap is so important. But how to take it right? First of all, researchers recommend to try not to fall in a deep sleep. You don’t want to wake up groggy, do you? So try to sleep for only 20-30 minutes. It won’t take much of your time and will be enough to restore your brain activity. If you want to have a deep restoration — try to pass through all 5 stages of sleep and wake up when the cycle starts from the beginning. On the average, it takes one and a half hours. A place is very important, too. No nap will help you with reaching your daily goals, if all of the allotted time you spend on trying to fall asleep. It’s important to find a place with no noise, and get your body in a comfortable position. Moreover, if you want to make the nap more effective, try to make it a regular practice. If you do it everyday at the same time, your brain will memorize this practice and will be ready for the pre-positioning of resources for a following intensive work.
As we can see, taking a nap does’t make you a lazy person. Sometimes a nap is crucial and can give you a boost to solve some daytime humps. Do you feel that there is no solution and you are stuck? Try to take a nap, and may be after a refreshing half an hour nap, a good idea just pops up in your head.