Have you ever wondered how to power nap so that you wake up feeling energized?
Is there a “hack” for making sure our naps wake us up feeling refreshed instead of making us feel more tired?
There is …and it starts with understanding how the brain works through our wake/sleep cycles.
To learn more keep reading or check out my video, How To Power Nap Based on Brain Science.
Why do we get sleepy during the day?
To learn more about how to power nap but also how to get a good night’s rest, we should first take a look at how our brains work to regulate our sleep/wake cycles throughout the day.
Your circadian clock is essentially a little clump of cells in the brain. It’s triggered by light and is linked to processes throughout the body.
We know that we’re likely to feel more sleepy during the day if we didn’t get enough sleep. But the quality of sleep and the timing of our sleep/wake cycle counts too.
In addition, about a quarter of the population is likely “night owls,” another quarter are “morning people,” and the rest fall somewhere in between.
Adults in certain age groups or those who have health issues may also need more or less sleep than their friends and colleagues.
In addition, sometimes what we eat can cause drowsiness, particularly after lunch when our blood sugar is most likely to dip.
Finally, when we’re exposed to light during the day can have a significant effect on our overall sleep patterns. You can learn how to set your circadian clock by watching my video, A 5 Minute Solution To Help You Sleep.
The Health Benefits of Napping
There are many ways to take a nap, some better than others.
Napping in the right way and at the right time can help to:
- Improve your focus
- Improve motor performance
- Lower stress and anxiety
- Boost your mood
But the key to a good nap is understanding what happens in your brain when you sleep.
For the best naps, you need to know about the three parts of sleep which you cycle through several times during the night
The Neuroscience of Napping
Insights into the different cycles of sleep provide a clear understanding of when and why you wake up tired. The three main cycles are:
- Light sleep
- Deep sleep
- REM sleep (dream state)
When we first go to bed at night, we’re usually in light sleep for the first 25 minutes or so. If you wake up during this time, you usually feel refreshed because your brain is still quite active.
But if you wake up confused and groggy, you’re probably in a deep sleep state, where brain activity is very slow.
When you wake up and remember your dreams, it’s because you woke up during the REM or dream state.
How to Power Nap and Wake Up Refreshed
The key to a good nap is to always wake up in the light sleep phase.
There are two ways to do this.
- Set a timer for 20-30 minutes only
- Set an alarm for 90-100 minutes to complete one sleep cycle with all three phases, and arrive back at light sleep to wake up.
According to sleep.org, the shorter snooze will help you sharpen your mood and focus, where the longer REM nap can actually aid in neurosynthesis and problem-solving.
Napping for a length of time between 30 and 60 minutes may still be helpful, but that’s when you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy.
Other napping tips include:
- Sleeping in a well-ventilated
- Sleeping in the early afternoon
- Turning your phone off
- Wearing a sleep mask
Get More Science-Based Health Tips
My goal is to provide information that helps people become the best version of themselves. If you want to learn simple, science-based tips to help improve your life, protect your brain, manage stress, and more, stay in touch by following me on social media and subscribing to my Youtube channel.
Enjoyed this article? Here are two more to help you:
3 Foods That Sound Healthy But Have Too Much Hidden Added Sugar
Brain Health Tips: Your Gut and Alzheimer’s Disease