A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%!
“Between the hours of 1-3 p.m., the body temperature drops, and melatonin levels rise. Both are cues for sleep,” reads the report.
Various studies also indicate that India is a country of most sleep deprived hard working professional.
While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor-quality night-time sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance, says an international sleep foundation.
If you have stayed in Pune for a fair amount of time, you will know that it is typical of Puneites (especially business owners) to take time off mid afternoon to have a nice nap. Several shops in the older parts of Pune actually down their shutters during 1-4 pm as their owners enjoy their afternoon siesta.
“We Punekars have been practising what today came as an extensively researched report, “says Prakash Kale, a confectionary shop owner.
“I do think that those couple of hours help a lot to maintain a healthy mind and body.
I am more active after the nap and this has been my routine for long. I shut the shop during lunch and re-open by 4pm and then stay up till 12 midnight without any feeling of lethargy,” Kale adds.
“I usually do not get time to take regular naps, but whenever I do take one, it helps a lot,” Shankar V. Kumaran, a city-based IT professional.
“It is often post lunch when I feel all drained and sleepy. I am not able to work in my cubicle and up just staring at those flying numbers on my screen.
Often, I slip out to the canteen or conference room if it is free and take a 20 minute nap. This definitely helps me sustain through the day without continuously whining and irritating others.
I think this should be mandated by corporates, it does help keep us alert and productive,” adds Kumaran.
Dr Seemab Shaikh, ENT surgeon and National President of the Indian Association of Surgeons for Sleep Apnea vouches that naps (between 1-3pm) can boost performance and mood.
“In fact, it is highly recommended and it is what we call a Power Nap.
This helps refresh the entire body and replenish the body when the required metabolism is low and helps it to resume with a bang.
Napping is not a sigh of laziness. But if it is excessive napping that indicates excessive day time sleepiness which isn’t good. But, short burst of naps for about 10 minutes to half an hour is perfect.
“It can rejuvenate the brain for the other half of the day. Short naps during mid-afternoon are helpful as they keep us more alert, active and fresh for the rest of the day.
Power naps can be had anytime, but excessive daytime sleeping known as excessive daytime somnolence (EDS) is a classical symptom of obstructive sleep-apnea.
This symptom indicates that the person has not had good sleep through the night and the oxygen levels were replenished optimally.
Dr Shaikh recommends about 30 minutes of napping and says “There is no limit to how long a nap should last, but generally about 30 minutes is sufficient for a power nap.
The best time of the day is somewhere in the mid-day (2-3 pm) after you have been continuously working for 3-4 hours, or post lunch or lunch break, Shaikh adds.
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