is one of the most important factors when it comes to concentration, mood, effectiveness, energy levels and productivity, and yet most postgraduates (along with the rest of the working population) get far less than the recommended daily amount of sleep.
Naps are a great way of boosting sleep time during the day, and a good nap can revitalize and re-energize the body and mind , allowing you to perform at peak mental performance for the rest of the day.
So how do you get the perfect postgraduate nap?
Time is Vital The amount of time we nap for is a vital factor in determining the effectiveness and benefit of the nap. By limiting your nap to less than 20 minutes, you will reap the benefits of entering the first two stages of the sleep pattern, giving you more alertness, motivation, concentration, and improved mood once you wake up. A nap of up to 45 minutes can leave you feeling more creative, but any longer than this and you'll enter slow wave sleep. Waking up during slow wave sleep can result in long lasting grogginess and instant disorientation. If you fancy a longer nap make it at least 90 minutes so that you can reach a full sleep pattern.
Always Set an Alarm Now that you are aware of the importance of timing, ensure that you set an alarm before you doze off so that you can get the optimum amount of sleep and wake up feeling fresh and revitalized.
Nap in a Quiet Dark Place This one may sound a little obvious, but find a dark quiet place for your postgraduate nap as this will reduce the amount of interference encountered. Earplugs and blindfolds can be effective in creating a calming nap environment, so utilize these when in a public space such as your office.
Lay Down Whilst some people find it incredibly easy to fall asleep wherever they happen to be, the best position for the body to be in is a flat one. Research has shown that we fall asleep up to 50% faster in a horizontal position.
Control the Amount of Caffeine A study conducted by Loughborough University found that by consuming caffeine just before a 20 minute nap, people were waking up just as the caffeine kicked in (which usually takes 20-30 mins), and this was giving an extra boost. The tests showed that this combo produced better results than a nap or consumption of caffeine alone.
Cut out the Guilt Science has proven, beyond doubt, that napping can be extremely beneficial for productivity, mood, energy and mental capacity, yet many people avoid napping as they feel that they are too busy to nap. The fact is that it could end up being the most beneficial thing for you, so don’t feel guilty and enjoy the nap for what it is.
Are you feeling more inclined to take a nap anytime soon? Share with us in the comments below...