Daytime naps can be one way to treat sleep deprivation, says Sara C. Mednick, PhD, sleep expert and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping,” she says. “You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.”
The length of your nap and the type of sleep you get help determine the brain-boosting benefits. The 20-minute power nap — sometimes called the stage 2 nap — is good for alertness and motor learning skills like typing and playing the piano.
What happens if you nap for more than 20 minutes? Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.
Naps Versus Coffee
Is taking a catnap better than reaching for a cup of joe? Yes, Mednick says, because caffeine can decrease memory performance. So you may feel more wired, but you are also prone to making more mistakes.
“If I don’t get my naps, I get cranky and unfocused by the end of a week of short nights,” Wilde says. “For me, that nap helps bring back my energy level.”
Patheos Explore the world's faith through different perspectives on religion and spirituality! Patheos has the views of the prevalent religions and spiritualities of the world.