Nap is a short period of sleep that is taken during the day in addition to normal night sleep. It is estimated that close 85% of all mammals have a nap at different times of the day. Man has trained his mind to be a monophasic sleeper – having 2 distinct periods of sleep and wakefulness. In most other mammals, these two periods are not clear-cut and this phenomenon is referred to as polyphasic sleeping.
The Nap has for along time been looked down upon by the human race. In most cultures, it is generally accepted that only children and elderly people can nap. In all other ages groups especially teenage, it is seen as laziness.
Nap: Famous Nappers
The busy lifestyle in the US is keeping people from their nap. This has made people in the US to be some of the most sleep deprived in the world. Experts agree that a nap is not a solution to inadequate sleep at night. However, 20 to 30 minutes of sleep in the afternoon is known to improve alertness and performance. Here are some of the famous people who were known to nap religiously:
- Winston Churchill
- Albert Einstein
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Ronald Reagan
- Thomas Edison
- John F. Kennedy
- Salvador Dali
- Stonewall Jackson
Types of Nap
Planned/Preparatory nap: here a person chooses to nap without necessarily getting sleepy. It involves preparations and rituals. If you expect to stay late at night, then you need to have a planned nap in the early afternoon.
Emergency nap: this is trigger by the brain since the body can no longer be active due to tiredness. This type of nap is encouraged among people who drive for long distances or operate heavy machinery.
Habitual nap: this not only planned by occurs at the same time everyday. Young children and old people nap habitually.
Benefits of a Nap
- Naps refresh the mind to improve alertness and performance. A study by NASA showed that a 30 to 40-minite nap increased performance by 34% and alertness by up to 100% among its astronauts.
- The level of alertness is almost perfect during the period following the nap, but the effects can still be felt a few hours after the nap.
- Napping goes a long way in treating some sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy.
- Naps have the effect of a mini vacation: luxury and rejuvenation.
As much as a nap has its benefits, some people find it difficult to nap. Have a nap in places other than their beds. By design, some people cannot sleep in the afternoon. Here are some of the disadvantages of having naps:
- It can cause sleep inertia especially when is exceeds the recommended 40 minutes. Sleep inertia is the feeling of confusion immediately after sleep.
- Long naps can have a negative effect on the normal sleep hours at night.
- Among persons who are already at risk, napping further increases the chances heart failure.
- Naps are also associated with stigmas that can lead to low self-esteem in a healthy person. In most cultures, napping is left for the sickly, children and elderly. These three groups are generally non-productive.
Tips for Taking a Nap
- Ensure that the room is warm.
- The place should be quiet.
- To reduce the negative impact on normal at night, naps should be taken in the early part of the afternoon.
- The environment around you has a great impact on the quality of the nap.