How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits
*** Sleep Deprivation is at epidemic proportions and it is having a huge impact on health, productivity, quality and quantity of life. If you can not find time to get enough sleep, learn to meditate and incorporate short meditation breaks into your day – it does not replace sleep but it does refresh and relax the nervous system and the brain. Having at one time, suffered severe adrenal exhaustion due to sleep deprivation, taught me the value of sleep. My body forced me to sleep 20+ hours a day for close to 5 months – I could not force myself to stay awake. The upside was, I lost all my excess weight (approx 40 lbs). Get creative and get the sleep you need for optimal functioning or you will pay the piper and it won’t be at your convenience. I missed 5 months of my life, my husband and children’s lives, because I chose to behave stupidly and ignore the basic human need for sleep. ***
For a quick boost of alertness, experts say a 10-to-20-minute power nap is adequate for getting back to work in a pinch.For cognitive memory processing, however, a 60-minute nap may do more good, Dr. Mednick said. Including slow-wave sleep helps with remembering facts, places and faces. The downside: some grogginess upon waking.Finally, the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia, Dr. Mednick said.P
There’s nothing like a power nap to restore energy and improve productivity. Now you can get the “ultimate” power nap by timing it precisely for when your body and mind may most need it, using this Take a Nap Nap Wheel.
According to Dr. Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher and author of the Take a Nap! book, the ideal napping time is the point in the day when REM and slow-wave sleep (a.k.a. deep sleep) cross. In the moveable nap wheel, drag the wake up time dial to when you woke up and find where the blue and yellow circles intersect to see what time to hit the sack. In this example, if you wake at 7am aim for a 2pm nap.
Previously mentioned cheat sheet for power naps also gave an approximation for the best time to nap, but based on if you were a night owl or a lark. This nap wheel is more precise—though, of course, you don’t have to nap at exactly that time. Getting a nap in any time around that sleepy period is like rebooting your brain.