A post with a picture is circulating on the Internet, the hero of which exclaims, wringing his hands, something like “What a pity that we did not want to sleep during the day in kindergarten! How many opportunities have been lost. Indeed, the mass of modern people working in offices and in production cannot afford the pleasure of daytime sleep. It is available only to remote workers, but even those often, trying to earn money, are busy all day and, just like office and other employees, suffer from lack of sleep.
However, not everyone finds daytime naps beneficial. Sometimes those who doze off during the day cannot then fall asleep at night, in addition, there is a belief about the dangers of sleeping at sunset. On the other hand, there are people who, not paying attention to signs, lie down calmly even during the day, even in the late afternoon and gain a lack of sleep at night or simply fight in this way with accumulated fatigue. Is napping good or bad? About this — in today’s article.
The Great Power of Daytime Sleep
Historians believe that the tradition of a person sleeping for many hours at night came from the wealthy class, who went to bed simply because there was nothing else to do. In the Middle Ages, when there was no electricity, ordinary people in the winter went to bed as soon as it got dark. But at two or three in the morning they got up, got down to business again, could go to visit each other, and then lay down again for several hours.
Sleep time: how much to sleep during the day?
The duration of daytime sleep can be different — someone will take a nap for 10 minutes and get up refreshed, while someone needs up to two hours to get enough sleep. But we will choose something in between to start the conversation — when the time of sleep during the day is 20–30 minutes. Many people say that they feel sorry for spending time on daytime sleep, even if it lasts only 10–15 minutes. They do not lie down every day, but only in moments of extreme fatigue, explaining this by the fear of nocturnal insomnia. Others lie down all their conscious lives after dinner for 20–30 minutes and, mind you, they sleep well at night.
Human sleep during the day: protecting the brain
It is shown that during sleep, among other things, the production and circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which is called cerebrospinal fluid, increases. That is, our brain and spinal cord are, as it were, in a pillow of moisture that has certain properties. By increasing the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid during those 20–30 minutes that we sleep during the day, toxic metabolic products are intensively removed from the brain.
Thus, a daytime sleep of a person lasting 20–30 minutes performs a cleansing function and literally “brainwashes”. By the way, among the excreted substances there is also the so-called amyloid protein, from which plaques are formed in Alzheimer’s disease.
Daytime sleep: stress management
According to scientists, in the first 20 minutes of daytime sleep, there is a peak in the production of serotonin, a hormone of good mood, which not only dilates blood vessels and improves blood circulation and brain function, but also stimulates the joy center. Therefore, after a daytime sleep, a person gets up in a cheerful and cheerful mood and looks at the world in a completely different way, noticing the good in it, not the bad. So daytime sleep helps fight stress and increases efficiency.
Often people who sleep during the day for 20–30 minutes say that after such a rest the mountains are ready to turn and, having risen from bed, they immediately and even with pleasure get down to business. In addition, daytime sleep improves cognitive abilities, that is, increases learning opportunities. Interestingly, scientists and doctors recommend not going to bed during the day without hiding, and hiding not just with a sheet or blanket, but with a real blanket.
Sleep time during the day is distributed for a reason. Experts identify phases in it: the first 10 minutes is an ultra-short sleep, up to 20 minutes is a powerful sleep, and up to 30 minutes a dream is called “extended power”. They also calculated the ideal duration of daytime sleep — 26 minutes. Moreover, such a dream will not affect the ability to fall asleep at night.
How to fall asleep for 20–30 minutes?
There is precise scientific advice on how to lie down, fall asleep and wake up in the required 26 minutes. The very first piece of advice sounds paradoxical at first glance — it’s … drink a cup of coffee before bed. The fact is that caffeine begins to act excitingly after 20 minutes, in addition, it has a diuretic effect, and after 20–25 minutes you willy-nilly have to wake up. The second advice is to deceive the brain — to create darkness for it. For this, a light-tight mask is put on the eyes.
Thirdly, you must sleep lying down. Sleeping with folded arms on a table or sleeping in a chair won’t do the same. Fourth, cover yourself with a heavy blanket. Not in the sense of thick and hot, but palpable in heaviness. This will give a childish feeling of comfort and, in addition, a large zone of contact between the blanket and the body reduces the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and increases the activity of the parasympathetic, and this latter is responsible in the body for fighting stress and for peace. All these actions in a person who works hard and gets tired will certainly lead to instant falling asleep.
When is daytime sleep bad?
But what if a person sleeps more than 30 minutes during the day? Doctors associate sleep lasting about an hour with disturbing awakening. After half an hour, sleep enters the deep sleep phase. At this time, breathing and heart rate decrease, the rate of cell division begins to slow down, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the muscles relax, and suddenly … the hour is up, and at this moment the person wakes up.
It takes time to re-enable all processes, and sometimes it can reach one and a half to two hours. Simply put, having woken up in a phase of deep sleep, a person is not able to work and act actively. We are not talking about any cheerfulness, increased efficiency and good mood. Thus, an hour nap is one of the worst options for daytime sleep.
Sleep, which lasts an hour and a half, doctors have designated as “sleep without rest.” On the one hand, the phase of deep sleep ends by this time, but a person wakes up after such a dream a little disoriented. The muscles have not yet returned to tone, are not ready to act. A person wants to lie still, he is, as it were, between sleep and wakefulness. In this state, it is impossible to immediately join the rhythm of the working day.
What’s wrong with two hours of sleep? sleep hormone
And finally, it remains to talk about the time of sleep in the afternoon for two hours. Will you be able to get enough sleep if you devote such a rather noticeable part of the day to daytime sleep? This sleep is called “ultra-long healthy sleep.” This is already a real dream, with all the phases that correctly replace each other. And, if there is time, then such a dream is highly preferable. A person will wake up in a good mood, rested, full of energy and cheerful. It would seem that everything is fine, but there is a catch. What’s wrong with two hours of sleep?
The problem is that it disrupts the rhythm of night and day sleep. The sleep hormone melatonin is produced during the day in a certain amount. With a 2‑hour daytime sleep, a person will exhaust most of the daily melatonin, it will not be enough for the night, and when it comes time to go to bed, difficulties with falling asleep will begin. A person’s night sleep will be inferior, will not bring the desired rest, and again we will dream of two hours of “sleeping” for half a day. These are broken circadian rhythms. And it doesn’t bring anything good. You need to sleep soundly and for a long time at night, and during the day — if you are very tired — the revitalizing 26-minute sleep, which was mentioned above, is best suited.