• Counter :
  • 860
  • Date :
  • 7/24/2010

Napping- It's All the Rage! (Part 1)


Napping: A Habit of Highly Successful People?

Have you ever felt the urge to put your head down on your desk and take a short nap after lunch? Most of us would resist such a temptation for fear of being labeled lazy and unproductive. But consider that some of the most notable figures in history are known to have been consummate nap-takers, including, Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci and some others. What’s more, recent research is providing evidence that a well-timed afternoon nap may be the best way to combat sleepiness, improve work performance, and overcome the late day grogginess commonly known as the "midday dip."

Napping and the Biological Clock

Contrary to popular belief, except for insomnia sufferers, a brief afternoon nap does not necessarily interfere with nighttime sleep. In fact, an afternoon nap may be perfectly compatible with a finely-tuned biological clock. For most people, the sleep/wake cycle includes being awake for about 16 hours and then asleep for about eight. But what many people don’t realize is that the body’s clock is set with two distinct dips in alertness within a 24-hour period: one at about 2:00 am and another at about 2:00 pm, corresponding to the midday dip. Fighting off the urge to sleep during these times is challenging, especially for someone already suffering from sleep deprivation.

Gregory Belenky, MD, Research Professor and Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, recommends naps as a way to make up for lost nighttime sleep. He says, "The beauty of naps is that they add to total recuperative sleep time," adding that "A large number of the world’s people divide their sleep into two blocks (with the afternoon sleep called a siesta in Spanish-speaking countries). It is even possible that divided sleep is more recuperative than sleep taken in a single block."

The Benefits of Napping

Experts agree that the best way to fight fatigue is to get enough sleep every night. But for some people, especially those who work long hours, have care giving responsibilities or work at night, this can be an ambitious goal. Even people who do get enough sleep regularly may feel the effects of the midday dip, especially after a heavy meal.

Studies show that taking a nap is a great way to increase alertness and reaction times, improve mood, and reduce accidents. For many people, napping is also a highly pleasurable experience.

A Performance Booster

Fatigue impairs performance and can be dangerous in certain settings. For people who work as commercial drivers, police officers, soldiers, doctors, and other safety-sensitive jobs, alertness can mean the difference between life and death. Take pilots as an example. Mark Rosekind, PhD, President and Chief Scientist of Alertness Solutions in California and former Director of the Fatigue and Countermeasures Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), conducted an experiment in which he instructed NASA pilots to take short naps when possible during long haul flight operations. Dr. Rosekind found that compared to long haul pilots who did not nap, the napping pilots had a 34% boost in performance and a 54% boost in alertness that lasted for 2-3 hrs.

Can Napping Make You Smarter?

There are a variety of studies that show that nighttime sleep improves learning. The idea is that newly learned knowledge or skills are integrated in the brain during sleep.

 But does a nap serve the same role? A new study by researchers at Harvard University has provided strong evidence that it does. The Harvard researchers found that taking a 60-90 minute nap has a benefit similar to that of nighttime sleep and that combining nighttime sleep with napping has twice the effect.

Source: rafed.net

Other links:

Children, elderly need protection from soaring temperatures

Sunshine, tea and exercise may ward off dementia

Longevity gene may also boost memory: study

Vitamin D levels linked to Parkinsons disease risk

What may cause an aneurysm

  • Print

    Send to a friend

    Comment (0)