Nap

Nap
Hammock napping on a patio, in Costa Rica

A nap is a short period of sleep, usually during daytime. Naps may be taken when one becomes drowsy during the day or as a traditional daily practice. It is common for small children and elderly people to take frequent naps.

Contents

Negative effects

Naps are not recommended for those suffering from insomnia or depression in order to avoid worsening nocturnal sleep.[1]

Benefits

Napping has been found to be beneficial. Napping for 20 minutes can help refresh the mind, improve overall alertness, boost mood and increase productivity.[2] Napping may benefit the heart. In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.[3] Napping may also relieve headaches. Scientists have been investigating the benefits of napping for years: the 20-minute nap, as well as sleep durations of 1–2 hours. Performance across a wide range of cognitive processes has been tested. Studies demonstrate that naps are as good as a night of sleep for some types of memory tasks. A NASA study led by David F. Dinges, professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, found that naps can improve certain memory functions and that long naps are better than short ones.[4] In that NASA study, volunteers spent several days living on one of 18 different sleep schedules, all in a laboratory setting. To measure the effectiveness of the naps, tests probing memory, alertness, response time, and other cognitive skills were used.

The National Institute of Mental Health funded a team of doctors, led by Alan Hobson, Robert Stickgold, and colleagues at Harvard University for a study which showed that a midday snooze reverses information overload. Reporting in Nature Neuroscience, Sara Mednick, Stickgold and colleagues also demonstrated that, in some cases, a 1-hour nap could even boost performance to an individual's top levels. The NIMH team wrote: "The bottom line is: we should stop feeling guilty about taking that 'power nap' at work."[5]

Power nap

A power nap, also known as a Stage 2 nap, is a short slumber of 20 minutes or less which terminates before the occurrence of deep slow-wave sleep (SWS), intended to quickly revitalize the napper. The expression "power nap" was coined by Cornell University social psychologist James Maas.[6]

The 20-minute nap increases alertness and motor skills.[7] Various durations may be recommended for power naps, which are very short compared to regular sleep. The short duration prevents nappers from sleeping so long that they enter the slow wave portion of the normal sleep cycle without being able to complete the cycle. Entering deep, slow-wave sleep and failing to complete the normal sleep cycle, can result in a phenomenon known as sleep inertia, where one feels groggy, disoriented, and even more sleepy than before beginning the nap. In order to attain optimal post-nap performance, a Stage 2 nap must be limited to the beginning of a sleep cycle, specifically sleep stages N1 and N2, typically 18–25 minutes.

People who regularly take these short naps, or catnaps as they used to be called, may develop a good idea of the duration which works best for them, as well as which tools, environment, position, and associated factors help produce the best results. Power naps are effective even when schedules allow a full night's sleep. Mitsuo Hayashi and Tadao Hori[8] have demonstrated that a nap improves mental performance, even after a full night's sleep.

Caffeine nap

A caffeine nap is a short nap that is preceded by the intake of caffeine. In a driving simulator and a series of studies, Horne and Reyner investigated the effects of cold air, radio, a break with no nap, a nap, caffeine pill vs. placebo and a short nap preceded by caffeine on mildly sleep-deprived subjects. The latter was by far the most effective in reducing driving "incidents" and subjective sleepiness. Caffeine in coffee takes up to a half-hour to have an alerting effect, hence "a short (<15min) nap will not be compromised if it is taken immediately after the coffee."[9][10][11][12]

Systematic napping as a lifestyle

A contemporary fad called polyphasic sleeping entails avoiding long sleeps, instead taking regularly spaced short naps. Sara Mednick, whose sleep research investigates the effects of napping, included a chapter, "Extreme Napping", in her book Take a Nap!.[13] In response to questions from readers about the "uberman" schedule of "polyphasic sleeping", she commented as follows:

This practice rests upon one important hypothesis that our biological rhythms are adaptable. This means that we can train our internal mechanisms not only when to sleep and wake, but also when to get hungry, have energy for exercise, perform mental activities. Inferred in this hypothesis is that we have the power to regulate our mood, metabolism, core body temperature, endocrine and stress response, basically everything inside this container of flesh we call home. Truly an Uberman feat![14]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50785
  2. ^ Anthony, Camile and William. The Art of Napping at Work, Larson Publication, 1999.
  3. ^ http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100233156&GT1=31036
  4. ^ "NASA Nap". 2005-06-03. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/03jun_naps.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  5. ^ "The National Institute of Mental Health Power Nap Study". 2002-07-01. http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jul2002/nimh-02.htm. Retrieved 2002-07-01. 
  6. ^ Mednick, Sara C.; Mark Ehrman (December 2006). Take a Nap! (First printing ed.). New York, NY, USA: Workman Publishing. pp. 133. ISBN 978-0-7611-4290-4. 
  7. ^ Mednick, Sara C.; Mark Ehrman (December 2006). Take a Nap! (First printing ed.). New York, NY, USA: Workman Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7611-4290-4. 
  8. ^ "The effects of a 20-min nap before post-lunch dip". 1998-04-01. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1440-1819.1998.tb01031.x. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  9. ^ Horne, J.A.; Reyner, L.A. (1996). "Driver sleepiness - "in-car" countermeasures: cold air and car radio" (Abstract). Sleep Research (25): 99. http://www.websciences.org/cftemplate/NAPS/archives/indiv.cfm?ID=19960113. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  10. ^ Horne, J.A.; Reyner, L.A. (1995). "Driver sleepiness: practical countermeasures caffeine & nap" (Abstract). Sleep Research (24A): 438. http://www.websciences.org/cftemplate/NAPS/archives/indiv.cfm?ID=19979427. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  11. ^ "Loughborough University researchers issue new warning to tired drivers". http://www.lboro.ac.uk/service/publicity/news-releases/2004/04_110_micro-sleep.html. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  12. ^ Lifehacker article
  13. ^ Mednick, Sara. Take a Nap! Change Your Life. Workman Publishing Co. 2006. ISBN 978-0-7611-4290-4
  14. ^ Mednick, Sara (11 May 2007). "Uberman, napping is all there is...". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013103649/http://saramednick.com/blog/?p=15#more-15. Retrieved 2008-03-23. ; Archive link

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  • nap — nap …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • nap — NAP, napi, s.m. 1. Plantă erbacee din familia cruciferelor, cu frunze crescute în formă de rozetă şi cu rădăcina cărnoasă, de formă aproximativ sferică, comestibilă (Brassica napus). ♢ expr. (Gol) nap sau ca un nap, ca napul = complet dezbrăcat;… …   Dicționar Român

  • nap|py — nap|py1 «NAP ee», adjective, pi|er, pi|est, noun. Scottish. –adj. 1. foaming. 2. heady; strong. 3. tipsy. –n …   Useful english dictionary

  • NAP — [ nap ] adj. inv. • v. 1980; acronyme de Neuilly, Auteuil, Passy, quartiers élégants de Paris ♦ Élégant, distingué. ⇒ B. C. B. G. Un ton très NAP. ⊗ HOM. Nappe. NAP [nap] adj. invar. ÉTYM. V. 1980; sigle de Neuilly, Auteuil, Passy, quartiers… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Nap TV — Nap Televízió (Nap TV) (Sun Television) Country Hungary Availability Produces programmes for Hungarian Television Founde …   Wikipedia

  • nap — nap1 [nap] vi. napped, napping [ME nappen < OE hnappian, akin to OHG hnaffezan] 1. to doze or sleep lightly for a short time 2. to be careless or unprepared n. a brief, light sleep; doze nap2 [nap] n. [ …   English World dictionary

  • Nap — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom.  Pour l’article homophone, voir Nappe. {{{image}}}  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nap — (n[a^]p), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Napped} (n[a^]pt); p. pr. & vb. n. {Napping} (n[a^]p p[i^]ng).] [OE. nappen, AS. hn[ae]ppian to take a nap, to slumber; cf. AS. hnipian to bend one s self, Icel. hnipna, hn[=i]pa, to droop.] 1. To have a short… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nap — Nap, n. [OE. noppe, AS. hnoppa; akin to D. nop, Dan. noppe, LG. nobbe.] 1. Woolly or villous surface of felt, cloth, plants, etc.; an external covering of down, of short fine hairs or fibers forming part of the substance of anything, and lying… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nap — Nap, v. t. To raise, or put, a nap on. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nap — [n1] short, light sleep break, catnap, doze, few z’s*, forty winks*, interlude, intermission, microsleep*, nod, pause, respite, rest, shuteye*, siesta, snooze*, spot; concept 315 nap [n2] grain of material down, feel, fiber, grit, outside, pile,… …   New thesaurus

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