In an ideal world we would all be able to take time out of our busy day and recharge with a much needed nap. Dr. Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher and author, has some key strategies to improve your nap as well as your health in the process, in today's Huffington Post.
Famous nappers such as Albert Einstein have proved that even the most successful people need time to sleep. In reality it can sometimes seem impossible to find time in the day for a quick snooze but when you do get the chance, here are Dr. Sara Medrick's top tips for the perfect nap.
90 minutes is the magic number
According to Mednick, a 90-minute nap gives you the same benefits as a full night of sleep, as long as you're not skimping our your night time rest. "The reason for this is because in a 90-minute nap, you go through all the major sleep stages: stage two sleep, slow-wave sleep and REM sleep," she explains. "You're going to get the benefits of increased attention, memory consolidation, cardiovascular improvements, decreased depression and also better metabolism."
Even if you don't think you're tired, lie down
Sometimes it can be tough to fall asleep, especially if you're trying to squeeze a nap into a tight schedule. Don't worry, simply lying down can make a big difference. Mednick explains, "even just lying down for 20 minutes and taking a break is really great to recover from some of the mental and physical exertion that we have during the day."
Try to take your nap six hours after you get up in the morning
"This 'mid-day slump' is when you're going to have a decrease in your core body temperature, in your cognitive processing and you're just going to get a little sleepy. That's a perfect time to take a break." say Mednick.
Ultimately these strategies will help make the most of your naps, even if it's not possible to snooze every single day. "The most important thing is that you nap where it suits your schedule," she says. "So, if you don't have enough time for the 'perfect nap' of 90 minutes I recommend three naps a week of 20 minutes each. That's going to give you all the benefits to health and cognition."