Wednesday 28 September 2016

Naps boost positive emotions

Published 04/08/2015 | 02:30

A woman takes a 'siesta' in Madrid
A woman takes a 'siesta' in Madrid

For the thousands of Irish who go to Spain on their holidays this year, there will be little sign any more of the siesta. The recession and corporate culture have been blamed for making the siesta almost an endangered species.

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However, experts believe naps are very effective in improving alertness and well-being.

Even a short seven to 10 minutes of nodding off can have immediate benefits lasting up to three hours.

The time between 1pm and 4pm is the period most conducive to napping. The best time to nap may be around 2pm for just 20 minutes.

This produced the greatest feelings of alertness and well-being for the longest time.

A study of napping among airline pilots during the cruising phase of a long-haul flight found it improved their alertness and performance.

Pilots need to be mindful of the risk of fatigue which can lead to impaired reaction times and reduced awareness of peripheral vision.

Other research has found a nap increases "positive emotions", "energy", "motivation" and "joy".

If you want to improve the amount of shut-eye you are getting then, the advice is to have a plan.

Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better.

Choose a time when you're most likely to feel sleepy.

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