Nap time, my favorite part of the day. Naps are almost like a reboot button for your body when the day just seems way too long. 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers which means that they sleep in short segments throughout the day and humans are the minority. Because of our busy lifestyles most people are sleep deprived and cant find the time to get in the full 7-8 hours needed every night for our bodies to function normally. Well that's where naps come to save the day. Taking a short "power nap" of about 20-30 minutes can restore alertness, enhance performance and mood. It might seem difficult to only nap for such a short period of time but that's because if you napped anymore your body will go into REM sleep and if the body can not go through a full cycle of REM sleep it gets out of whack. That's is one reason why its bad to be woken up by an alarm and you may feel irritable when woken up suddenly and that's because your body is actually mad at you. Not only do naps have beneficial effects physically allowing you to finish your day well but emotionally they are pleasing. Finding that short amount of time to spend in a quiet, dark place can improve your mood drastically. Many cultures utilize the power of a nap and shut down all stores and stop working for a siesta.
There are a couple different forms of napping. Habitual napping is when you nap at the same time everyday which is what kids mostly do to set a routine. Emergency napping is when youre so tired that you cant make it the rest of the day without a nap to give you that energy boost. Planned napping is when you know ahead of time that you will be up late so you give your body sleep now. There can be drawbacks to napping also. If you nap too close to bedtime then you might not be able to fall asleep easily and will loose a good nights sleep. So next time you body needs a quick pick me up to feel more alert, help with cognition and improve your mood try setting an alarm for 30 minutes and take a nap! As difficult as it may seem to get out of bed after those short 30 minutes of sleeping your body will thank you.