One in every 5 Americans struggles through the day fighting to stay awake. According to the annual Sleep in America survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 20% of Americans are sleep deprived, getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night. Chronic sleep loss has been connected to reduced productivity, increased workplace accidents, increased highway accidents, relationship problems, depression, anger control issues and a number of chronic illnesses.
Doctors say napping is an excellent way to combat sleep loss, but who has the time? Experts say you don’t need to carve 2 hours out of your busy schedule; a 26-minute nap will do the job. According to NASA researchers, 26 minutes is the optimal nap time required to increase productivity, sharpen mental alertness, and improve mood.
During a short nap your body enters the first 2 stages of light sleep without achieving the delta and REM stages of deep sleep. While deep sleep is most restorative, it leaves you feeling tired and groggy when interrupted. For a nap to be refreshing, it should only trigger light sleep.
The trick is to calm your mind quickly so that you can fall asleep. Many adults have found that what works for their kids works for them. Watching the Nighty Night video or listening to the Nighty Night CD (load it onto your iPod so you can listen during your lunch break) quickly relaxes your body so you can enjoy the benefits of a quick nap.