This great infographic shows how you can maximise your snoozes to get the very best from your day. I teach my clients in every session the importance of great sleep and taking time out and enjoying some REM sleep (the time when our brain sorts out emotional memories and turns them into narrative memories, memories that we can recall without negative emotional context).
Comment by Mark Jones Hypnotherapy
It always seems like such a good idea to get a little midday shut-eye when the opportunity arises – after all, the perfect nap can do wonders for you energy level, focus and mood. But how many times have you woken up from a siesta feeling groggy and more tired than you did to begin with?
The perfect nap is all in the science, and the optimal length of it depends on what you are looking to achieve. Dr. Sara Mednick, assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside has worked out three optimal napping scenarios.
Are you just a little tired and need a boost? A 10 to 20 minute power nap should leave you ready to go when you get up, and provide you with enough of a boost to last through the rest of your day. Be careful not to hit snooze and get to 30 minutes though, that length of time will likely cause you to experience sleep inertia and leave you in a groggy, hangover-like stage. Thirty minutes will usually leave you feeling worse than if you didn’t sleep at all.
If your memory is failing you and you need to remember and recall facts, then it is best to doze for an hour. Your brain will get into slow-wave deep sleep and give you the memory power you need. Unfortunately, you will probably feel a little hazy when you first wake up, so give yourself time to wake up before getting back to work.
When you really need to dig in and finish a project, or if you have to deal with an emotional situation, Dr. Mednick suggests 90-minutes. This puts your brain through one full sleep cycle, including REM sleep. This should give your brain enough of a restart to get you through the task you’re facing. An added bonus? Since you’ve gone through a full sleep cycle, you should be able to wake up easily and without any sleep inertia effects.
Naps are awesome and can recharge you when you need it, but they are no substitute for a full night of sleep. Make sure you are getting eight hours a night, or you are risking consistent decreased cognitive function.
Tips To A Better Nap:
Sit slightly upright while you nap; this helps you to avoid falling into a deep sleep, meaning you’re less likely to sleep through the alarm.
Time it right; the best time to nap is around 2:00 or 3:00 pm. Taking a nap too close to your bed time will throw off your sleep schedule and make it harder to fall asleep at night. This will leave you craving a nap the next day and creates a viscious cycle.
Cultivate the environment; nap in a cool, dark and comfortable space. You want to fall asleep quickly and easily in order to maximize the effectiveness of your naps.