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NAPS – Friend or Foe?

October 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepdallasnew @ 3:55 pm
woman taking a nap on a couch

Napping has been debated since the first nap was created. No more debating. Napping is a good thing. No, wait…napping is a bad thing. Yep, both sides are correct.

Let’s look at the drawbacks first.

  1. If you have insomnia, napping can exacerbate the problem. You may have noticed that when you take a nap, you can’t get to sleep when you want to. No big surprise there.
  2. You may experience sleep inertia, leaving you feeling groggy and disoriented after waking up from a nap.
  3. People may think you’re lazy.

Next (and this list is longer, as well as more beneficial), let’s look at the benefits.

  1. Stress reduction – after a nap, your cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop about 50%
  2. Fatigue reduction
  3. Improved performance, including quicker reaction time, better memory, less confusion, and fewer accidents and mistakes
  4. Healthier heart (including accelerated recovery after psychological stress)
  5. Improved mood
  6. Helps you prepare for anticipated sleep loss

So, what are some important items to know when scheduling and taking a nap? Here are some of the basics:

  1. A power nap that is for productive reasons should last no longer than 20-30 minutes.
  2. Ideally, a nap should be taken in the same environment you experience with nighttime sleep (quiet, dark and cool). After all, sleep is sleep.
  3. The ideal time for a nap is in the afternoon, during the “sleep gate”, when most of the world is taking a nap with you.
  4. If you have insomnia, no naps for you until you solve that problem.

Kent Smith DDS, D-ABDSM

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