• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

March 20, 2013

The Napping Revolution

A new surge in sleep science suggests that 10 minutes of midday shut-eye could be the ultimate wellness-booster.

Share
woman on phone booth

Photo Credit: Clang

Special Offer

It's a fact of life: Nonstop work e-mail chains, after-dark texts, and full-DVR temptation are cutting ever deeper into the late-night hours previously earmarked for sleep. And according to the National Sleep Foundation, women are hardest hit, reporting higher incidences of nighttime wake-ups and daytime drowsiness than their male counterparts. Now, scientists have convincing evidence that naps — those peaceful interludes once reserved for sick days or vacations — are a must-try modern-day solution to our perpetual sleep shortage. "Naps aren't a substitute for nighttime sleep, but they offer a great 'energy-rejuvenation break,'" says Nancy Rothstein, a Chicago sleep consultant whose adopted moniker is "The Sleep Ambassador" and who helps companies maximize employee productivity; she even created a New York University online course on sleep wellness, which debuted in February. Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a clinical psychologist and sleep behavior specialist, agrees. "While the goal is still getting enough sleep at night, naps are a viable plan B. Even a short one can improve your alertness," she says. Indeed, catching a few restorative Z's doesn't have to be a long and drawn-out affair. To the contrary, it can be incredibly efficient. A new study, published last fall by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, found that as few as 8.4 minutes of sleep in the middle of the day amped up cognitive function and alertness. Armed with recent research, you can now tailor the timing of your slumber specifically to fuel different brain functions. Unlike its slovenly forebears, the 21st-century nap is short, strategic, and purposeful.

Here, the principles of daytime sleep, optimized to achieve four different outcomes:

INSTANT ENERGY

There are five stages of sleep, each one reflecting the body and brain's progressive relaxation. Stage one and two are lighter phases of sleep that will leave you refreshed. You'll reap the benefits after as few as eight minutes, but be sure to limit your nap to less than half an hour. The effects of a quickie post-lunch nap like this can last at least three hours, just long enough to get you through the 3 p.m. doldrums.

BONUS STRATEGY

Drink 150 milligrams of caffeine, roughly an 8-ounce cup of coffee, immediately before napping. Caffeine takes 15 to 30 minutes to kick in, so it's a natural alarm clock, and you'll be juiced upon waking.


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health and Fitness
When My Mom Had Breast Cancer

Written by Benjamin Otis, age 13 almost 14.

18 Ways You're Sleeping Wrong

Correct these mistakes ASAP to sleep better.

15 Stunning Images Capture How Beauty Comes In All Different Sizes

Would you go nude in front of camera to promote healthy body image? These brave women did.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue