- Carrie Snow
The LunaBed family understands that sleep is an essential activity for the mind and body. At LunaBed, we also know that a supportive mattress is important for recuperative rest…but how much sleep do we really need? Studies have shown1 energy, alertness, critical thinking, and creativity skills are enhanced with 9-10 hours of sleep a night. But what if trying to fit 7 or 8 hours of sleep into your schedule is a stretch?
We understand – it’s easy to overbook your time, which can affect how many hours of sleep you allow yourself each night. When deep sleep gets shorted, napping is the next best thing. Even a 10-15 minute catnap can be helpful.
The benefits of naps cannot be underestimated. Napping has been shown to:
- help compensate for challenges caused by a lack of nighttime sleep
- help boost learning
- support increased memory
- maximize alertness
- ensure a healthier you
Not only does the additional sleep affect just about every brain function you can imagine, but it also has been shown to have a significant effect on a healthy appearance. There really is something to the old adage, “I need to get my beauty sleep!”2.
How to get the perfect nap? Here are a few suggestions3:
Schedule your nap in the afternoon between 1 and 3. For the perfect nap, make it refreshing with 20 minutes. Much longer leaves you groggy. But for a more restorative nap – go for a full 90 minutes which is equivalent to a REM cycle.
Set an alarm, so that you can rest easy and quickly relax into a nap.
It is important to be comfortable. If your nap routine is away from your LunaBed, find a comfy spot to snuggle down. Have a blanket handy as body temperature drops while you snooze.
If your tiredness is the result of sleep deprivation, taking a short nap in the mid-afternoon can give your energy levels a boost. You are likely to feel sleepy between 12:00 and 3:00pm, which matches the low point of your circadian cycle. Past 4:00pm, you risk reducing your nighttime sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation4:
More than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Humans are part of the minority of monophasic sleepers, meaning that our days are divided into two distinct periods, one for sleep and one for wakefulness. It is not clear that this is the natural sleep pattern of humans. Young children and elderly persons nap, for example, and napping is a very important aspect of many cultures.
By now you're probably dreaming of ways to incorporate more naps into your daily life. Remember, getting your nightly 8 hours of deep sleep is the best way to stay healthy and productive, but adding in a short nap now and then can restore alertness and help you thrive. So get your nap on…
1. Timothy Roehrs and Thomas Roth at the Sleep Disorders Research Center of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan
2. BMJ 2010;341:c6614 - Beauty sleep: experimental study on the perceived health and attractiveness of sleep deprived people
3. Wall Street Journal article by Sumathi Reddy,The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science
Why Some Snoozing Sessions Leave You Groggy While Others Help