The best way to nap
According to researchers, the most natural time to take a nap, based on our circadian rhythms, is in the afternoon sometime between 2 and 4 pm. Mednick even designed a napping wheel that pinpoints the ideal time to snooze, when a nap would contain a good balanced of slow wave and REM sleep.
REM sleep is ( Rapid eye movement sleep) one of the five stages sleep that most people experience nightly, it is characterized by the eyes and paralysis of the muscles.
This balance typically occurs six to eight hours after waking.
In a 2009 study, and her colleagues compared the effects of REM sleep, non REM sleep, and quiet rest ( while awake) on creative problem- solving. On the morning of the lest, students were given a task in which they had to come up with a word that is associated with three apparently unrelated words - for instance " falling", actor and 'dust' can all be associated with the word ' ' Star' . Early in the afternoon, the students either took an REM nap, a non REM nap or spent time resting while awake, when they returned in the evening to repeat versions of the morning's test, the students who had taken the REM naps performed the best. In other words, it seems that REM can enhance creative problem solving.
" so if you're looking for a restorative nap, you should sleep later in the day when you have an increased amount of slow wave sleep," says Medinick, " And if you're looking for a nap that might aid your creativity, you should sleep earlier in the day when you experience more REM."
REM sleep can faster creative problem solving (SPL).
A study in Australia found that a 10- minute afternoon nap was enough to help participants recuperate from a night of restricted sleep. Participants felt less sleepy, more vigorous and showed improved cognitive performance for as long as 155 minutes following the nap.
This ties in with research conducted by John Groeger a professor of psychology at the University of Hull in the UK, which indicates that nappers should avoid complicated, higher - level executive tasks right after waking. " when you wake you can do simple things pretty well, he said, " but your brain needs an hour or two to come fully back online".
Timing is everything
Clearly, then, getting the timing of a nap right is key-
Nuroon, a smart sleep masks that tracks brain waves and eye movements to wake you at the optimum time, raised four times its target in a Kickstorter campaign in January and in due to be released next year.
Despite the results of the study, though, Cellini believes that its only matter of time before a personal mask that can accurately monitor a person's sleep comes to market.
Elizabeth Mc Devitt at the sleep and cognition lab at the University of California, Riverside is studying whether non-natural nappers who are trained to nap regularly.
And Cellini and others are quick to reject to notion of polyphasic sleep - a strategy in which people sleep for short periods throughout the day in order to spend less time sleeping overall - " No matter how you design it , napping is never going to be as good as getting a full night of sleep " he says.
It seems that to nap properly you have to ask a professional how its done.