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Do Power Naps Work?

Power naps are like unicorns: magical, hard to catch and loved by those who believe in them. That they’re real – or really good for you – is another question entirely. What we do know is that Americans are a hard-working people. In poll after poll, surveys show that Yanks put in more hours and get less sleep than nearly any other culture on the planet. So, if anyone needs a nap – it’s you. But, are power naps really the way to go? <strong>Power Naps: Yay or Nay?</strong> The majority of scientists say <strong>yay</strong>, <em>but only if naps are 15-20 minutes in length and appropriately timed in the middle of waking hours</em>. Anything longer and sleep researchers argue that you could scramble your circadian rhythm – the natural sleep pattern that is allegedly hardwired into every person and triggered by environmental cues. That rhythm can be disrupted and this happens frequently with the average Joe (or Jane). It’s just a consequence of modern-day living: kids, cell phones, work schedules, illness, rowdy neighbors and that #$%@^ dog down the street are all conspiring together to destroy your healthy sleep patterns. Studies show that naps can help reestablish that rhythm. Neuroscientists who study brain activity during naps say that the right brain (the creative side) remains highly active during power naps, suggesting that it’s doing vital housecleaning work even while you doze. But again, it has to be at the right time. That 20 extra minutes before you even get up … <strong>Snooze Button: Yay or Nay?   </strong> Recent studies say that the snooze button is a <strong>nay</strong>. And, that’s too bad. Who doesn’t like the snooze button? But, scientists argue that when you hit the snooze button you’re not tacking more sleep on to your previous session; you’re starting your entire rhythm over again and then waking up <em>way too early</em> – basically starting your day with sleep harvested from your snooze rather than your period at rest. The lab coats say this is especially true if you allow yourself to fall back into “slow wave” sleep, when your brain slips deep under the surface of consciousness and your body functions start to slow down. This is just bad for business once you’ve already woken up once because, as you know from the first time around, it’s hard for your body to cycle up to waking mode. <strong>Conclusion:</strong> Naps are in, the snooze button is out. It’s a bit of a raw deal, especially for snooze-button lovers, but the upside is that now you don’t have to feel guilty about wanting that nap in the afternoon – although your boss may make you feel guilty for taking it. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> hopes everyone gets to dream about unicorns while getting more power naps.
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