Naps - Bring them back, please

Naps - Bring them back, please

I live in Kolkata. I recall a time when everything would shut down in the afternoon. People would not venture outside, and shops would down their shutters.

Then it all changed. We moved to the 24/7 economy. Only lazy old people slept in the afternoons, or so we were told. 

But have we made a mistake by doing away with the afternoon nap? 

An afternoon nap, often dismissed as a luxury or a habit for the very young and elderly, is increasingly recognised as a beneficial practice for individuals of all ages.

Taking a short nap during the day can significantly enhance mental alertness, boost productivity, and improve overall health. 

One of the primary reasons to take an afternoon nap is to combat the natural dip in alertness that occurs in the early to mid-afternoon.

This period, often referred to as the post-lunch dip, is characterised by a decline in energy and cognitive performance.

A short nap can effectively counteract this slump, providing a mental and physical rejuvenation that helps sustain productivity for the rest of the day.

Research has shown that even a brief nap of 10 to 20 minutes can significantly enhance cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, and creativity.

The ideal length of an afternoon nap depends on the desired benefits and the amount of time available.

A 10- to 20-minute nap, commonly known as a power nap, is ideal for a quick recharge.

This short duration prevents the sleeper from entering deep sleep, thus avoiding grogginess upon waking and providing an immediate boost in alertness and mood.

The ideal cycle is a 60-90 minute nap that allows for a complete sleep cycle, including REM sleep, which enhances creativity, procedural memory, and emotional resilience.

Strangely, that is exactly what people in Kolkata were doing. Sleeping for one sleep cycle, then waking up and going back to work. 

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