Have you ever wondered why newborns up to age one take two naps a day, along with their nightly/nocturnal sleep?
Then by 18 months (give or take a few months) they cut down to a single nap?
Finally, by age 4 or 5 when they get ready for school or pre-school, naps are totally cut from the daily routing? (I’m sure parents know how cranky they get by 5pm!)
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love the mid-day nap, especially after a big lunch, and when the weather is too hot to do anything from 2 until 5pm (at least in Rome). Of course, wine, pasta and a full belly at lunch are ingredients for crashing!
There are hundreds of studies showing the average North American is sleep deprived. Instead of 7.5 or 9 hours of sleep (I believe multiples of 90 min REM cycles), we sleep 6 or 7 hours. Or less. And that means being susceptible to:
- Obesity and heart disease
- Increased blood sugar levels and diabetes
- Poor bone and muscle growth, as well as impaired injury healing
- Increased sickness and infections
- Increased body temperature
- Decision making ability
- irritability and crankiness
- other reasons?
Basically, what I am trying to say is, if you CAN’T sleep 7.5 or 9 hours a night, then take a mid-day nap.
The question is, how long?
I’ve heard short “cat naps” from 10-15 long are best.
Personally, I like taking full REM cycle of a 90 min nap (give or take 30 min, it depends)
Below is an infographic from lifehacker.com showing the different benefits of 10-20, 30, 60, and 90 minute naps.
The other theory is where do you nap? On a sofa with your regular clothes on? Or back in bed with less clothes?
Of course, those with regular working jobs might find this a challenge!