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Mental Health

The Secret To Energy With Little Sleep

afternoon nap

During my one year working for Renesas, I had trouble keeping awake during the afternoons. It was embedded into our minds that sleeping in the office is considered bad. It’s not encouraged at all. But from what I noticed, almost everyone in the office was drowsy and looked lethargic, trying hard to keep awake. Little did everyone know that if done correctly, taking regular day-time naps will give you a huge boost of energy throughout the day.

Now that I’m out, I can reveal my secrets. During my first few weeks, I realized that the toilet cleaner cleans twice, once at 7am and another at 2pm. Once I notice the cleaner walking out of the toilet, I will quickly run into one of the freshly cleaned cubicles, pull the toilet seat cover down, sit down facing the water tank, fold my hands above the tank and sleep. =) I will set the alarm to ring half an hour from time.

Later on, I realized that it is actually natural that we feel sleepy in the afternoon. Our body temperature decreases by 1° during mid afternoon. This slump is what makes a lot of people sleepy during the day, and why so many people feel the need to take an afternoon nap! Did you know that taking a nap in the afternoon is a culture in Spain and Mexico?

Deep sleep is the sleep phase where our body temperature begins to drop really low, our respiration, heart rate and blood pressure decreases. If you’ve ever been woken up out of “deep sleep”, you know that it’s almost impossible to get up. Waking up during or after a major deep sleep phase makes you feel lethargic, slow, and disoriented.

It takes about 45 minutes to enter the first deep sleep phase. If you limit your nap to 45 minutes, you will sleep mainly in Stage 2 sleep. Stage 2 sleep also plays a major role in restoring physical energy because 50% of our night sleep is spent in Stage 2 sleep. This is why you may have heard before that a simple 10 minute nap can totally re-charge you.

The correct way to take naps is to keep it super short. Some studies even show that taking short naps can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease by as much as 30%. I would personally recommend that you do take a short nap during the day, and you’ll be surprised at how energized you feel for the rest of the day when you do take one! Limit the nap to 45 minutes, if you still feel tired after the nap, then shorten the nap time. The amount of time required to enter deep sleep varies from person to person. Because everyone experiences the afternoon body temperature slump, we can assume that nature intended us to have an afternoon nap.

Talk About Sleep
The benefits of naps

Siesta
Short nap taken in the early afternoon

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