Perhaps you’ve been watching TikTok late into the night or tossing and turning with anxious thoughts. And now you’re wondering if a nap at lunchtime will give you the energy you need to get through the rest of the day and possibly regain the health benefits of sleep. full night of sleep what you may have lost

It’s important to understand that while a midday nap will likely give you enough energy to get through the rest of the day, explains Rebecca Spencer, a sleep science researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it won’t necessarily be debilitating. risks that may be caused by sleep deprivation at night.

That’s why.

It is recommended to sleep from 7 to 9 hours a day.  Photo by Joyce Lee for The New York Times.

It is recommended to sleep from 7 to 9 hours a day. Photo by Joyce Lee for The New York Times.

Health benefits of good sleep

According to a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, more than a third of adults in the United States do not get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep each night.

And this lack of sleep, according to experts, is associated with a number of increased health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and mental disorders.

According to Dr. Spencer, not only the duration of sleep is important for health, but also the quality of this sleep, which is determined by the time we spend at different stages of it.

When we slept through all that corresponds to the night, we crossed several “sleep cycles” about 90 minutes. Each consists of four phases: the first two are considered light sleep, during which muscles relax, body temperature drops, and heart rate and breathing slow down as you fall asleep.

The third stage, known as deep dreamThis is when the eyes and muscles are completely relaxed, and the body does the important job of repairing and building bones, muscles and other tissues, as well as strengthening the immune system and consolidating and processing memories.

The rapid eye movement phase (better known by the English abbreviation REM) is the last phase of the sleep cycle. It is not as deep as the third, but it happens when there is rather dream and is thought to be associated with learning, memory retention, and mood regulation.

According to Molly Atwood, a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine researcher at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it’s okay to sleep poorly every now and then. But if we don’t get through systematically Going through all these stages every night, he says, can lead to many health problems.

And sleep can’t make up for itSpencer states.

The benefits of adding hours of nighttime sleep and daytime sleep do not add up.  Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.

The benefits of adding hours of nighttime sleep and daytime sleep do not add up. Illustrative photo by Shutterstock.

Non-Cumulative Benefits

While a few hours of nighttime sleep and daytime naps can add up to six or more hours in total, the health benefits don’t add up in the same way.

Daytime naps of less than 90 minutes usually cover only light stages of sleepexplains Rebecca Spencer, and not deep, restful sleep, which is usually achieved throughout the night.

And while naps longer than 90 minutes may include beneficial deep sleep, it is more likely that I’ll leave you a little sleepy and perhaps less insightful than a short nap.

Some limited data, for example, have shown that those who wake up in the deepest phase of their sleep cycle are more likely to to make mistakes in math exercises than those who wake up from REM sleep.

The benefits of daytime sleep

But there are times when short naps can be helpful, says Molly Atwood. “If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, daytime naps can help improve things like reaction time and memory if you have to work,” he adds.

If you work during the day, for example, take a nap 20 to 30 minutes it can restore alertness and get rid of lethargy without disturbing your sleep the next night, he notes.

Daytime naps can also be especially important in helping to stay alert and clear-headed for those who don’t always have daily schedules, such as flight attendants, commercial vehicle drivers, medical professionals, or others who work multiple shifts.

And similarly, they may help older people if their life stage changes, such as having to go to the bathroom at night, interrupt their sleep, the expert says.

If you need to take a nap, Dr. Atwood recommends taking short naps (no more than 30 minutes) so you can don’t disturb your sleep at night next.

It is best to take a nap in the afternoon, “when there is a natural decline in our vigilance and we tend to sleephe notes. It makes it easier to fall asleep quickly.

But if you’re chronically tired or find it hard to get through the day without sleep, Atwood suggests you seek the help of a behavioral sleep specialist.

“People tend to suffer for a while and then go to their therapist for a cure,” he describes.

But going to a sleep specialist long term solution better than relying on drugs, he says. These professionals trained in sleep psychology can prescribe certain exercises or strategies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help you get the rest you need.

© New York Times

Translation: Roman Garcia Azcarate


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