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Benefits and Drawbacks of Napping

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When most of us find our energy flagging in the middle of the day, a nap sounds ideal in order to recharge ourselves. Sleep is an important part of our daily routine and human beings spend about one-third of their time sleeping. Quality sleep and getting enough of it at the right times is as essential to survival just as much as food or water is. A nap, is a short period of sleep, usually taken during day time. While many swear by napping as an effective way to relax and recharge, others find naps to be counterproductive and disruptive to their sleep pattern.


Speaking with the Daily Mirror, Dr. Ramani Ratnaweera, Consultant Psychiatrist at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital shed light on the topic. 


“The adequate amount of sleep a healthy adult requires is approximately 6 hours and children on the other hand require a lot more. It’s important to point out that with age comes inevitable changes in the structure, as well as the quality of our sleep. Pregnant women require at least 8 hours of sleep. The older you get, the less sleep your body seems to require, but the golden rule is to try to get that undisturbed 6 hours of sleep at night.”


While short naps could be taken as a healthy way to restore the deficits of sleep deprivation, long hours of sleep is known to be linked to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, anxiety disorders and depression. As there are both pros and cons to each length of sleep, especially when it comes to napping, Dr. Ramani said,
“It is undeniable that there are proven benefits of napping such as more focus, increased alertness, improved productivity levels, aiding memory formation as well as regulating emotions. Children who attend school require a lot of rest and getting adequate sleep helps in motivation as well as performance. Staying up late brings forth the sleep cycle and causes inevitable long-term effects. 


In certain adults, certain adverse health effects have been associated with very long mid-day napping. Excessive sleeping or irregular sleep patterns is also common in individuals who are diagnosed with various anxiety disorders and depression as sleep is seen as a form of escapism in most cases. It is important to highlight that napping could also be a warning sign for diabetes as it goes hand in hand with the sheer lack of exercise, thus making the condition worse. It is clear as day that excessive sleeping eventually does more harm than good.”, said Dr. Ramani. 


When you sleep, you pass through different stages of sleep, which is known as the sleep cycle. These stages include light sleep, deep sleep, which is believed to be the stage in which the body repairs itself, as well as rapid-eye-movement sleep, or REM sleep. The REM sleep is during which the mind is repaired. 


While Irregular sleep patterns as well as the intake of caffeine could hinder the process of your body trying to recharge itself after a long day, making sure you get a good night’s sleep would do you plenty of good. Even on the best of days, life can be exhausting, if you feel like you could use a powernap to recharge, then do so by all means while making sure you are indeed napping right. 

 

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