If you are anything like me, napping is your favorite part of the day. Whether my exhaustion is due to my lack of sleep, or my busy schedule, or both, I always find myself beat by the middle of the afternoon.I used to nap when I was in high school quite often, but it was usually during class on my desk. I never had the luxury of going home and sleeping when I had a full schedule from 8 am to 3 p.m., and that was just school itself. So, I would usually nap often and in short periods of time during each class, when I knew I could get away with it. Buy now, being in college, things have changed. Now I find myself staying up late, sleeping in late, and then coming home after class and napping. The duration of these naps vary from 20 minutes, to two hours, and I am curious if this is benefitting or injuring my health. I have found that if I take a 20-30 minutes nap I usually can wake up and feel energized for a while, but once my nap gets long things change. I will be groggy and lethargic for a few hours, but then I am able to stay up much later, which can also be helpful. I just don’t know what I should be doing to regulate my sleep schedule and be sure that my naps are benefiting my health, and bettering my college experience. So, I decided to do some research.
According to THIS ARTICLE on sleep.org, a nap can be very beneficial to your day, especially if you have had a long night It informs us on the gains from taking a quick nap by telling us that anywhere between 20 to 90 minutes is a sufficient napping time, and any longer will result in grogginess. However, I am not sure I agree. So, I kept digging. I also remember being taught in AP PSychology that 26 minutes is the prime amount of time to nap. If you get to deep into your nap, and reach REM you will be woken up before having cycled all the way through the sleep stages. This is what leads to your grogginess.
THIS ARTICLE from the Huffington Post gives you some tips for napping! So if you are someone who loves to crash for a few minutes, or hours, check it out! It also suggest that the best time for you to nap is 20-30 minutes so you do not become groggy after waking up. There was s tudy done and posted HERE on sleepjournal.org that helps to prove this. It says that 5 minutes ,had little benefits, then from 10-20 the benefits increased. The best however, was a thirty minute nap. This time had the longest lasting effects and had the most benefits.
So I think it is very important to nap, especially if you are busy or a night owl. If you find yourself looking for an afternoon pick me up, turn to sleep instead of other caffeinated drinks. It is a healthier way to get the energy needed to finish out your day feeling happy and accomplished. Just DON”T sleep too long!
Picture found HERE