The Pros & Cons of the Afternoon Nap

June 24, 2008 at 9:13 am | Posted in Girltalk | 1 Comment
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Over the years I have gone through stages where I nap during the afternoon and stages where I don’t need it.  These days I’m pulling a 7am to 11pm shift with no sleep in between.  I personally prefer this to the afternoon nap for so many reasons:

1.  I get tired for the rest of the day (especially when I sleep too long)

2.  Sometimes the whole process of falling asleep, sleeping and waking up and reenergizing can take too long out of the time you have in the day.

3.  Once you get in the habit of sleeping in the afternoon, it’s very hard to break because your body automatically is ready for sleep the next afternoon.

4. You don’t sleep as well at night.

Of course there are alot of benefits to the afternoon nap too such as repair, refreshment, catching up on the sleep you didn’t get the night before and so on.   It even improves memory function.

I did some research on what the ideal nap solution is for those who love to sleep especially after a long day of work.  An afternoon POWER nap consisting of 20 minutes a day is the perfect amount of time needed to rest without feeling tired when you wake up.  The Nap shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes as that’s when deep sleep starts to set in. 

For those who want to counter drowsiness during the afternoon, you can try the following “preventing drowsiness” tips.

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  1. According to a study conducted by Androniki Naska of the University of Athens Medical School in Greece, half-hour siestas can boost heart health and help prevent deadly cardiovascular disease.
    Here are the details:

    Androniki Naska of the University of Athens Medical School in Greece and colleagues studied 23,681 Greek men and women between age 20 and 86 who had clean bills of health when they enrolled into the study between 1994 and 1999. The scientists conducted follow-up exams at various intervals until the end of December 2005, with an average of six years between enrollment and follow-up.
    Participants reported whether they took siestas and if so, the frequency and length of their naps. They also indicated their level of physical activity and dietary habits over the previous year.
    After roughly six years, 792 participants had died, including 133 deaths from heart disease. Those who took naps at any frequency or duration were 34 percent less likely to die from heart disease than the non-nappers. The serious snoozers who took a 30-minute or longer siesta at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-disease death.
    Working men showed the greatest heart benefits from daily shut-eye, no matter the number or duration of naps, with a 64 percent lower risk of death from heart disease compared with working men who didn’t nap. Non-working men who napped were 36 percent less likely to die from heart disease. Only six working women died during the study, so the researchers couldn’t run a similar analysis for women.
    The authors suggest naps could boost heart health via stress reduction. Past studies have linked job stress with myriad health ailments, including heart disease, flu virus, high blood pressure and diabetes.
    The fact that naps gave a heightened benefit to working men–who likely face job-related stress–compared with non-working men supports the stress-reduction link, they say in their study published in the Feb. 12 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.


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