The Power Nap and the Benefits to Older Adults
Do you find yourself tired in the afternoon or lacking energy? Are you looking for a pick-me-up that will give you a boost for the rest of the day?
Often, older adults find themselves taking a nap but waking up feeling in a fog instead of energetic.
You might think napping is not the answer – but it may be the kind of nap you’re taking is all wrong.
What is a power nap?
It is what was once referred to as a cat nap and this short sleep can be beneficial for many. A full sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Keeping your nap under that time frame means you’re much more likely to avoid experiencing grogginess. That’s why a short power nap can be the perfect alternative.
Is a power nap good for you?
If you’re a napper, you’re in pretty great company. According to sleepcycle.com, Einstein, Winston Churchill, President John Kennedy and Leonardo da Vinci were fans as well.
But if you have trouble sleeping at night or staying asleep, napping during the day is probably not a good idea. Any type of nap can confuse your body rhythms so give it a try but if it makes nighttime sleep more difficult, keep awake during the day.
The following are benefits that a short power nap can provide:
- Feeling less sleepy
- Improved mood
- Increased alertness
- Improved reaction time
- Clearer short-term memory
- Increased focus and concentration
Do older adults benefit from power naps?
According to the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, a 30-to-90-minute power nap for older adults can have brain benefits. But anything longer can create cognition problems, including the ability to think clearly.
Researchers analyzed data from almost 3,000 people in China aged 65 and older. Nearly 60 percent reported that they took a nap after lunch for about an hour. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, what was discovered was that those who napped for 30 to 90 minutes had better word recall than those who did not nap or who napped for longer than 90 minutes.
The medical director of Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center recommends older adults strive to nap between 1:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon to avoid interfering with sleep-wake cycles. The nap should last between 20 and 40 minutes to sidestep feeling groggy when waking up. A quick nap should be restorative and not interfere with trying to fall asleep at night.
Ready to power nap? Here’s how
Try these steps to see if a daily power nap could be the right activity for you:
1. Set an alarm to wake you after 20 minutes
The duration of a power nap is key. If you stay asleep too long, you’ll go into a deep sleep and will wake up feeling more tired. The maximum time you want to spend asleep is going from Stage 1 Sleep (the feeling of drifting off) to Stage 2 (slowing down your brain activity).
2. Nap earlier in the day
Following the long traditions of siestas, aim for some time after lunch but before 3:00 p.m. Don’t push the timing because you can then experience trouble going to sleep at night.
3. Create the right sleep environment
A cool, quiet and dark room is perfect for a power nap. But choose a place where you won’t be disturbed. Lying down is best and try to avoid noises and distractions for restful sleep.
To nap – or not
Most people say they benefit from their power naps – if they were otherwise well rested. But research following people’s napping habits found inconclusive results on the health benefits.
It also matters why you’re taking a nap. The American Heart Association says if a nap helps you perform better and get through the day, it can be a good thing. But if you’re napping because you can’t keep your eyes open, that’s a sign – of an underlying health issue, lack of nighttime sleep or poor sleep quality.
Assisted Living in Broward County at Seaside Hallandale Beach
We’re here to answer any questions you may have about senior living. If your family is searching for assisted living in Broward County, we invite your family to see how our community can encourage and promote a higher quality of life.
Supporting our residents to age well, we believe you or your parents will enjoy the services and amenities available in our pet-friendly community:
We encourage you to visit Seaside Hallandale Beach assisted living in Broward County which is designed to provide activities and social opportunities to help our residents in reaching their wellness goals.
- A monthly social calendar of activities
- Beautiful common spaces to socialize
- Weekly housekeeping
- A spacious courtyard
- An outdoor pool with a covered patio
- Personalized fitness and wellness programs
- Scheduled transportation
- Easy and safe access to the beach
If you have any questions about Seaside Hallandale Beach Senior Living, please contact us at 954-607-1000 or download our brochure.
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