Do you feel cranky during the day while working? Take a power nap

Well I do. That’s when I take a nap. A good nap leaves me refreshed and recharged. I become more productive.

That’s what happens when we are sleep-deprived and need to give our body and mind some relaxation during daytime and we doze off for a while. It’s called power nap.

Interestingly enough, naps are popular officially in many countries worldwide.

In recent years, Japanese companies have actually made provisions for proper workday napping on the theory that a better-rested worker is more productive. If you visit any big city in Japan, you’ll see commuters sleeping on the subway, parks, coffee shops, bookstores, even the workplace during office hours. This is a much more common sight in Japan than in America or Europe.

The Japanese even have a word for it ‘inemuri’. The word ‘inemuri’ may be defined as ‘being present while asleep’. In recent years, though, companies have started encouraging employees to go for a ‘hirune’ – which literally translates as “lunchtime sleep”. Sae Takahashi, chief spokesperson of GMO Internet Group, a Tokyo-based company, says “With hirune, one is consciously making an effort to rest within a short space of time. This way, we think they can effectively switch between business and break times, creating a better working environment.”

According to Traditional Chinese Medication, it is advisable to take a nap for keeping harmony within your body. Employers in China believe that when employees take a nap to rest during the day, it’s good for productivity and well-rested workers are happy workers.

‘Siesta’ is one of the most notable aspects of Spanish life. It’s a Spanish word for a nap. In Spain, everything shuts down in the afternoon, often after the midday meal, so that people can rest and take a nap.

In Italy it’s called a ‘riposo’.

The time of a nap varies from country to country. It may be a short nap of 20 minutes or a major mid-afternoon break. Taking a nap is common in some countries, especially where the weather is warm.

It is also interesting to note how world-famous personalities believed in the efficacy of a nap and took advantage.

Sir Winston Churchill slept only four hours at night during World War II? But he always compensated by taking a two-hour nap in the afternoons.

Albert Einstein slept long 10 hours at night. He also used to have daytime naps.

The American presidents John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W Bush are also known to have valued an afternoon nap.

Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the world’s greatest military leaders, and Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor, also enjoyed naps.

Research shows that taking a powerful nap during daytime can have tremendous health benefits.

It helps to:

– regain concentration and increase alertness

– improve perception and  boost creativity

– reduce stress and fatigue

– increase stamina, enhance performance and accuracy

– enhance sex life

– aid in weight loss and reduce risk of heart attack

– brighten mood and improve memory

– boost productivity.

No wonder, these great personalities with the habit of taking naps contributed immensely in their particular fields of work.

Naps help preschool children too. Since short-term memory stores are limited at that age, younger children need more frequent sleep. It is beneficial for their learning and development. Children who nap regularly are better able to remember things.

However, experts also suggest that naps can leave people with sleep inertia, especially when they last more than 10-30 minutes. Sleep inertia is defined as the feeling of dizziness and disorientation that can come with awakening from a deep sleep. This state usually lasts for a few minutes to half an hour. It can be detrimental to those who must perform immediately after waking from a nap. Post-nap impairment and disorientation is more common, and may last longer, in people who are sleep-deprived.

A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may also adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep.

Most sleep experts suggest the body normally needs seven to nine hours of sleep every day, varying on personal and genetic factors. Nevertheless, humans naturally become tired in the afternoon, about eight hours after waking up. A short nap in the afternoon from 10 minutes to 30 minutes provides more rest than 20 minutes of extra sleep in the morning. Find out how much your body needs but keep your nap less than 30 minutes so you don’t wake up with sleep inertia.

Naps can be typed in three different ways:

Planned napping: Taking a nap when you know that you will be going to bed late or you know you might get tired.

Emergency napping: When you suddenly feel very tired and cannot continue with the activity you are engaged in or feel too sleepy. This type of nap is essential to drive off drowsiness before driving or using heavy and dangerous machinery.

Habitual napping: When you make it a habit to take a nap at the same time each day.

If you have only 5 minutes to spare, just close your eyes; even a brief rest helps in reducing stress and helping you relax a little, giving you more energy to complete the tasks of your day.

SOME TIPS

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best time to power nap is right after lunch. Normally napping after 3pm can interfere with nighttime sleep. Individual factors, such as your need for sleep, your sleeping schedule, your age and your medication also play a role in determining the best time of day to nap.

After napping, give yourself time to wake up before resuming activities – particularly those that require concentration like driving.

Your sleep environment can greatly impact your ability to fall asleep. Ensure a restful environment in a dark place with a comfortable temperature. Try to limit the amount of noise or distractions.

By now you’re probably thinking about ways to incorporate naps into your daily routine. Remember that getting enough sleep on regular basis is the best way to stay alert and feel your best. But when fatigue sets in, a quick nap can do wonders for your mental and physical stamina.

Thinking of taking a nap?

Go ahead and have that lovely refreshing nap.

Tasneem Hossain is a poet, columnist and training consultant. She is the director of Continuing Education Centre, Bangladesh.

This content was originally published here.

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