Sleep expert Michael Wernicke (from Wenatex) told TODAY many of us do not sleep enough overnight so napping enables us to catch up.
“Sleep is accumulative. We are suppose get 7-8 hours each night. But if we are only getting 6 hours, then over 7 nights we develop a ‘sleep debt’ of 7 hours,” he says.
A lack of sleep can have damaging effects.
“If you only sleep 6 hours the night before, you are 3 times more likely to have a car accident.”
Wernicke also says the time you should take your nap will vary on your body clock.
“You will naturally get tired after you have been awake for the amount of hours you slept the night before.”
For example, if you slept 8 hours and woke up at 6am, you will need to have a nap 8 hours later, at 2pm.
Your body will naturally get tired just after lunch, and combined with a full stomach, you will begin to feel drowsy says the Brisbane based sleep expert.
“This cycle first originated in agriculturally rich countries where farmers tried to escape the hot midday sun after lunch by having a lie down.”
So how long should you nap for?
“A nap should be around 15 – 30 minutes while you are in your light sleep phase. Anything more and you will enter your deep delta wave sleep,” Wernicke says.
“If you wake after you have entered this stage your brain waves will go from deep waves to short sharp waves in a small amount of time. “
“The result is you will feel worse after waking up.”
Your ideal sleep conditions should be somewhere dark and quiet, with no noise and where you won’t be disturbed.
The findings, by Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, also give more meaning to the term “beauty sleep.”
“A cat nap will reduce stress, increase alertness, improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health,” says Wernicke.
Previous research has uncovered a link between lack of sleep and obesity, depression, cardiovascular problems and hypertension.
For more information visit www.wenatex.com.au