“Naps have become a common part of your day,” says Dr. R.R. Gaskin, a clinical psychologist at the University of Kentucky. “What people need to remember is that naps are not sleep, they are actually a relaxation period.”
“The brain’s sleep-wake cycle doesn’t last long enough to get to 10 or 12 hours, so you have to take a break every now and then,” Dr. Gaskin continues. “You can get very little sleep if you are awake, and that is because most people are awake all day and are tired when they go to sleep.”
For people of sound mind
Naps are “vital during times of stress,” says Dr. Robert N. Buss, a medical expert in health and development at Georgetown University School. “They are essential for many people. They are also a wonderful way to rest the brain after a long day of hard labor. People will often say they want to take a nap, and when they do that they don’t necessarily wake up.”
Naps should be planned with a sleep specialist, who can help you find the right times and types of naps “for the most benefit, rather than just getting the best nap for you,” says Dr. Buss.
How long should you nap?
“Naps are actually really important for most people,” says Dr. N.S. Patel, professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
“We recommend two or three in the evening to promote a long-lasting sleep,” says Dr. Patel. “The average sleep cycle is between 9/12 and 10/3, so you need four to five naps. It is best to get in the habit of doing your own research on the times and types of naps you are most comfortable with.”
Naps to avoid
The “rules” that keep naps from being as effective or fun as a full-fledged sleep are that:
The first few minutes have to be relaxed and fun.
It is essential to nap immediately after you come out of a long workday.
The nap can’t last longer than three to four minutes.
Naps must be spaced with plenty of rest as much as possible to give your mind a chance to adjust its pattern and the body, which is a time-consuming process, plenty of rest is crucial.
Naps should be limited to 25 to 30 minutes.
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