For busy professionals who feel a bit frayed around the edges, naps can be bliss. However, they also can be risky. If you're not careful, a few winks could turn into a full-blown sleep session, the result of which can leave you feeling heavy and groggy instead of light and refreshed.
"We're always hearing that naps are a great way to recharge -- so what gives?" author Claire Hannum asks in an article for Greatist. "It's all about how you nap. It's true that naps are generally good for you when done right … but when you sleep too long or too late, they can cause trouble."
Simply put: Not all naps are created equal.
If you want to pull off a power nap that helps instead of hurts your productivity, start by setting an alarm so you wake up before your body enters deep sleep. Because after that, grogginess is guaranteed.
"The idea about the so-called 'power nap' is to keep the sleep time down to about 20 to 30 minutes," Dr. Peter Fotinakes, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., tells Hannum. "The shorter sleep period makes it less likely that we enter deep sleep during the nap."
Also, take your naps in the afternoon. "We all enter a natural down period after lunch for about an hour when we should be taking a nap," Fotinakes notes. "All in all, naps can be a healthy part of your life, but shorter naps in the afternoon may be the best approach."
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