LIFE

The Amount Of Time You Nap Can Affect You In Different And Fascinating Ways

by Elyse Wanshel
Elyse is a Senior Writer at LittleThings.com. She enjoys tacos, kickboxing, and naming animals. In fact, she named two of her mother’s six cockatiels Mr. and Mrs. Featherbottom.

The word “nap” has a bad rap.

The way you sleep says a lot about who you are, and many associate napping with toddlers, the elderly, and those who are lazy.

Yet, there are tons of great leaders were avid fans of napping.

Leonardo da Vinci, for example, took naps every four hours to recharge his intellectual batteries; John F. Kennedy took a noontime siesta every day of his presidency with Jackie by his side; and workhorse Thomas Edison would often break up his 72-hour work stints with lots of quick snoozes.

According to an article by the Harvard Medical School “Results from a New Zealand study published in 2009 showed that air traffic controllers working the night shift scored better on tests of alertness and performance if they took advantage of a planned nap period.”

Not to mention that a sleep survey performed by The Better Sleep Council uncovered that 48 percent of Americans say they are sleep deprived yet only 34 percent nap regularly.

And that makes sense — it’s hard to squeeze a nap into our busy days. But did you know a quick 10-minute nap can do wonders?

In fact, the amount of time you nap can actually affect you in very different ways. There is actually a nap for every kind of occasion. What’s the best type of nap for you? We’ve broken it down …

The Power Nap

The Power Nap
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Just 10–20 minutes is all you need for a quick pick-me-up. A classic power nap is best for when you need to quickly rejuvenate and getting straight back to work. This type of nap is good for alertness and motor learning skills like playing an instrument or typing.

Tip: The power nap can be boosted by holding a pencil

Tip: The power nap can be boosted by holding a pencil
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Holding a pencil while you power nap is a trick Albert Einstein used regularly. He held a pencil while he drifted off and when the pencil dropped, it was time for him to wake up.

Salvador Dali was also a fan of this trick, except he used a key, which made a louder sound when it hit the floor. He must have been a heavy sleeper.

The Turbo Nap

The Turbo Nap
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Also dubbed the “NASA Nap” due to a 1995 study from NASA, which NTSB member and fatigue expert Mark Rosekind co-founded, this 26-minute nap has been proven by scientists to improve pilots’ performances by 54 percent. This kind of nap is best for a day — or night — when you’re working after hours.

Tip: The turbo nap can be boosted by drinking a cup of coffee

Tip: The turbo nap can be boosted by drinking a cup of coffee
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

It seems counter-intuitive but it takes caffeine about 45 minutes to actually kick in after you drink it.

Have a cup of Joe right before your turbo nap and it will maximize your alertness shortly after you wake up.

The Peak Performance Nap

The Peak Performance Nap
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

This 60-minute nap is best for cognitive memory, which helps with remembering facts, places, and faces, according to Sara Mednick, an assistant psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside.

This kind of nap is best before an important meeting or big presentation.

Tip: The peak performance nap can be boosted with a cell phone

Tip: The peak performance nap can be boosted with a cell phone
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

For a peak performance nap, it’s best to set an alarm on your cell phone to ensure you wake up at the right time. Make sure the volume is turned up loud, but not blaring.

The Full Circle Nap

The Full Circle Nap

A full circle nap is one that involves the entire sleep cycle. A napper can obtain this in 90 minutes. This kind of nap “aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike,” Dr. Mednick said.

This kind of nap is best before a project deadline or a big test.

Tip: The Full Circle Nap can be boosted by wearing an eye mask

Tip: The Full Circle Nap can be boosted by wearing an eye mask
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

In order to fully enjoy a full circle nap you need to fall into a deep sleep, and a sleep mask may help dull your surrounding environment. Plus a dark environment will help you fall asleep faster.

What type of nap do you think works best for your lifestyle? Let us know in the comments.

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