Should you take a nap?

A nap is a short period of sleep, usually taken during the day.

Most mammals are polyphasic sleepers, sleeping multiple times within 24 hours. On the other hand, humans are monophasic sleepers, sleeping only once during the same period.

It is still unclear whether this is our natural sleep pattern, especially if you look at the sleeping habits of young children and the elderly, who take regular naps throughout the day.

Research suggests that our ancestors were polyphasic, sleeping for shorter periods. Still, over time we have adapted this way of sleeping into a single block to complement and cope with the frenetic pace of our modern existence.

Napping is still an essential part of cultures in the Mediterranean, South America, and Africa, where many people traditionally adopt the polyphasic approach to sleep.

The benefits of napping include restoring alertness, enhancing performance, and overcoming fatigue. At the same time, psychologically, it can be seen as a luxury enjoyed during time off to help rejuvenate and relax. 

There are several ways to take a nap:

Forty winks: Napping for up to 30 minutes during the day can help you to reap the benefits if you need to do so. The best time to slot a nap into your day is between 1 pm and 3 pm.

Power nap: It is beneficial for a quick jolt of alertness. It is a valuable way to ward off those moments of fatigue that make it almost impossible to keep your eyes open.

Napping isn’t for everyone and sleeping for any longer than 30 minutes can mean running the risk of entering into a deep sleep. The feeling of grogginess and disorientation associated with napping for too long is often called sleep inertia.