Naps are not just for babies and the very elderly, they can benefit everyone. If you’re often tempted to lay down your head and indulge in a sleep during daylight hours, you’re in luck.
There’s lots of reasons why you should go ahead and take that nap, guilt free! Read on to find out why power napping is good for you.
What is a power nap?
A power nap is a short sleep taken during the day, usually in the afternoon. After lunch and no later than 4pm are when power naps are often taken.
Unfortunately, a power nap isn’t a long and luxurious sleep longer than 90 minutes, nor is it a long lie-in in the morning. There’s nothing wrong with a lazy bed day, but it just won’t pass as a “power nap”.
When we go to sleep at night, we go through a “sleep cycle” which involves different stages of sleep. REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) happens once we have been asleep for approximately 60 to 90 minutes. During REM sleep is when we usually experience dreams.
The short naps we take (for 20 to 30 minutes) are the kinds of sleep which don’t quite deliver us to full REM stage. These kinds of naps are what provides us with a refreshed feeling and a burst of energy during the day.
Some people schedule their naps for a particular time so they can reap the benefits for the rest of the day and into the night. However, an unplanned power nap still counts! Sleep-deprivation and stress can bring about the need to clock in a power nap to wake yourself up, as contradictory as it sounds.
Different kinds of power naps
There are different kinds of power naps, ranging in duration and intention:
Short power nap
a 20 to 30-minute nap which is just enough to refresh the mind and body, but doesn’t enter into a deep sleep. This kind of nap is great for staying alert throughout the afternoon, and avoiding that horrible slump around 3pm. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, or you have a private place at work to nap…give it a try.
Long power nap
a 90-minute nap will give you a full sleep cycle, complete with that dream-inducing REM stage. A long power nap is great for when you’ve missed out on nightly sleep, or you need a full refresher to get through a tough work week.
Spontaneous power naps
as the name suggests, spontaneous power naps are naps which are not scheduled, but taken when and as needed. You may find that your sleep the previous night was poor, or stress has exhausted you and you need a quick refresher.
If you are feeling groggy, irritated or low on energy, try a spontaneous power nap instead of a coffee or sugary snack. You may find it’s your new energy fix. You can also learn how to make healthy snacks at shapebloom.com.
Habitual power naps
habitual power naps are naps which are scheduled for the same time each day, and are taken for specific benefits. Just like having a bedtime at night, some people have a “power nap time” for the afternoon as they find it improves their productivity and overall mood.
How does power napping help with weight loss?
Yes, power naps can even help with weight loss! Even more of a reason to turn off and get some PM shut-eye.
Napping can help to reduce stress and improve your mood. As we know, high levels of stress can increase your level of cortisol.
High levels of cortisol can cause weight gain and prevent weight loss. By taking a daily power nap, you can reduce your stress levels and keep those cortisol levels at bay. This can help with losing belly fat especially, which is often associated with high cortisol levels.
If snacking and calorie management is keeping you from losing weight, napping could be the solution. By plowing through the afternoon despite feeling exhausted and bogged-down in stress, you may be more likely to snack unnecessarily. Sometimes we can mistake tiredness for hunger, thinking that if we get a sugar hit we may have a better chance at staying awake.
This just adds extra calories and will stop you from reaching your weight loss goals.
Instead of reaching for a calorie-laden treat, try a restful nap instead! You’ll most likely wake up feeling satisfied and without craving a treat.
Benefits of power naps
Besides being gloriously relaxing, power naps have many great benefits:
- Increases energy and fights fatigue
- Improves mood
- Boosts creativity
- Curbs hunger cravings
- Promotes weight loss
- Helps with appetite management and curbing cravings
- Promotes productivity
- Boosts mental alertness
If you find yourself lacking in alertness and energy in the afternoons, a power nap could be the cure. Schedule a 20 to 30-minute power nap in a quiet, calming place and you might be surprised at the difference it makes to your productivity and overall mood.
Remember, don’t sleep for more than 90 minutes or you might find yourself feeling groggy and craving more sleep.