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
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
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."