Are you struggling to keep yourself awake? A sleep expert answers questions on how you can get the best out of your nap.
Between napping and sleeping in on weekends, which is a better solution and why?
Adults generally don’t need naps unless sleep deprived. Between napping and sleeping in on weekends, it will be a better option to nap. Sleep specialists promote a consistent sleeping pattern and habit, meaning 7-8 hours of sleep a night. That also means maintaining a consistent sleep and wake time. Sleeping in on weekends may cause a break in this sleep hygiene habit, and coming Monday you may feel a bit groggy still from oversleeping. Better to try to take naps if you don’t plan to be outside the whole day, just make sure you don’t nap in the late afternoon as it will delay your bedtime in the evening.
Is it accurate to say only sleep-deprived people need to nap? Why?
Adults need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep throughout 24 hours. After the 6th year of life, humans don’t generally need to nap, unless we accumulate a “sleep debt”. Sleep debt means that we did not achieve the 7-9 hour sleep required, so we have to compensate by taking naps, or else sleep deprivation becomes worse and interferes with our daily functioning.
How can we nap at work in a way that doesn’t induce grogginess and sleepiness instead? How long should the nap be?
Sleep specialists recommend naps not more than 20 minutes. This is because in the first 20 minutes of sleep, we go through the light sleep stages. Then, after that we transition into deep sleep. We feel groggy and sleepier when we wake up from a deep sleep stage. Waking up in a light sleep stage leaves us more refreshed, alert and energetic. That’s why it’s called a “power nap”. It’s proven that it can help with work and school productivity.
What are the expert’s take on the coffee nap i.e. does it work, the challenges of timing the coffee intake right?
Coffee naps is from the principle of caffeine blocking the Adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is the substance that makes us feel sleepy.The longer we are awake, the more energy we use and the more adenosine accumulates within the brain. Now, when we drink coffee before a nap, the caffeine will take some minutes to metabolize. The key to a successful coffee nap is to sleep before the stimulating effect of caffeine takes over, and keep in mind to nap 15-20 minutes only. The source of this caffeine is not limited to a hot cup of coffee only. It can be tea, soda pop, energy drinks, chocolate, caffeine pills, etc. Experts say coffee naps has some clinical data for backup evidence, but it may not work for everyone. Caffeine tolerance and sensitivity should also be considered as it will greatly affect the success of a coffee nap.
Mary Lyn is a registered Nurse, Respiratory Therapist and Polysomnographic Technologist at The Air Station. She has an interest in sleep medicine and conducts training as a clinical instructor. She has successfully helped and supported many patients throughout their therapy journey.
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