Sleep – The Ultimate Repair Tool

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
  • Depression
  • 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!

how long to nap

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