Self Help

The Psychology behind Napping


Have you ever experienced a sense of irrigation or lack of focus during your daily routine without even knowing the actual reason for it? This can sometimes be because of insufficient sleep or because the body is requiring some rest. But in the 21st century, people are mostly less concerned about their sleep than their work and responsibilities. A healthy mind and body can perform the task more efficiently, but sometimes people cut time from their daily routine to enhance their performance at work. This is a good idea for a very short duration, but in the long run, it can hamper a person’s performance and overall health. Understanding the psychology behind napping involves exploring the various stages of sleep, and the psychological benefits that napping can offer.

In such situations, when work demands are high or irregular, a brief period of rest, called a nap, can help the person give rest to the body and mind and also enhance their mood, performance, and memory.

What is Nap?

A brief period of sleep is known as a nap. It’s mostly taken as a response to drowsiness during waking hours. Today, in schools and offices, people are using napping as a technique to enhance the performance of students and workers. Benefits of Napping and duration of Napping can vary from person to person. But in general, a healthy adult is advised to take a nap for 20 to 30 minutes. To understand why this duration is so important, we have to understand the sleep cycle of humans.

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Function of the Sleep Cycle and Napping

We all have the line that early morning dreams come true, or as humans, we most clearly remember our morning dreams because, as sleep proceeds, the sleep becomes deeper. The sleep cycle is divided into four states, or two categories: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM).

1) Stage 1:

It is the shortest sleep, which lasts from one to seven minutes. In this stage, a person experiences the lightest stage of sleep. In this stage, the body and mind start to slow with a period of brief movement. These are chances that help the person fall asleep. Often, people get easily awakened when they are asked to get up. If not, then they can proceed to stage 2 of the sleep cycle.

2) Stage 2:

This stage lasts from 10 to 25 minutes. It is still relatively light in comparison to stages 3 and 4. This stage is characterized by a change in body temperature, slower breathing, relaxed muscles, and a slower heart rate. At the same time, eye movements stop, and brain waves show a new pattern.

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3) Stage 4:

In this stage, the body gets relaxed even further and muscle tone, breath, and pulse decrease. It is a deeper stage of sleep. It can be difficult to wake up a person while they are in stage 3 of their sleep. This stage lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. This sleep stage is characterized by delta brain waves. Because of this, this is stage 3, also called delta sleep or slow wave sleep (SWS). This stage is a restorative stage of sleep that allows bodily recovery and growth. Research has shown that this stage of sleep helps with creativity, insightful thinking, and memory.

4) Rapid eye movement:

This stage of sleep is quite similar to the pattern of the awakened stage. In REM sleep, body muscles are temporarily paralyzed, or the body experiences atonicity, except for two muscles. Eye muscles and muscles, which help the person in the breathing process, Even when the eyes are closed, it quickly moves under closed eyelids. Dreams tend to take place during this period.

Why take a power nap?

As we discussed, people can take naps, which can last 20 to 30 minutes, because during this time they are in the first two stages of their sleep cycle. It’s easy for them to get up and refocus on their task. Whereas when they go into deep sleep or sleep for more than 30 minutes, it becomes difficult for them to get up or even feel worse than before because of their drowsiness and sleepiness. A power nap is also known as a stage two nap because this sleep terminates before the deep sleep takes place. This sleep is recommended for people who are experiencing sleep deficits. In such conditions, deep sleep takes place while a person is napping, and when they get up, they feel refreshed as their deep sleep is complete.

90 minutes of sleep: if you want to sleep more than 30 minutes or have extra time, then make sure that you can sleep for 90 minutes. During this period, one entire sleep cycle is completed, and when a person gets up, they feel good. People feel drowsy when they get up in between their deep sleeps. So it’s advisable to either not fall into deep sleep or, if you do, then complete it for better performance.

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Benefits of Napping:

1) Lifts the mood:

When people take naps, their body and mind get relaxed, and when they get up, they feel energetic. Experts say that if a person is relaxed for some time by simply lying down without falling asleep, they can experience a boost in their mood because of relaxation.

2) Enhances Memory:

Memory is closely connected with sleep. While the person is sleeping, the memory traces of learning become stronger. This can help the person remember their verbal recall, motor skills, and sense perception. A nap helps the person remember things they have learned earlier in the day as well as a full night’s sleep.

3) Enhance productivity:

After the nap, the person can find connections between things, which can make their work easier. Their perception and cognitive awareness become high towards noticing small details. They can complete their work faster with good-quality results. It becomes easier for them to focus on the task and respond to it quickly.

4) Alertness:

Nap can help the person get more alert in their work. It’s really common to experience drowsiness after a bad day, whether you are in the office or at home. It’s better that instead of struggling with this, you give your eyes a rest. This will enhance the person’s alertness to work on the task. People who are working a shift or have emergency, duty can use it as a quick way to recharge themselves.

5) More effective than caffeine:

Research has shown that sleep is more effective for memory and cognition than caffeine. It’s been said to take rest even if you can’t sleep, then sip a coffee.

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6) Stress releaser:

Nap can work as a stress reliever. When people are awake, they overthink sometimes and feel stressed. When they take naps, their minds get relaxed, and even their immune systems get improved.

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