The Benefits of Cat Naps
The meaning of a cat nap is a short nap, similar to a micro nap or power nap. Britons also sometimes call a quick nap ‘forty winks’.
How long is a cat nap?
A cat nap are never long, and there’s a reason for that: Several studies have shown that there are disadvantages to longer daytime naps, which may leave you with sleep inertia (sleep-hungover) since you will enter the deep stages of sleep, yet won’t complete a satisfying amount of sleep cycles.
Short naps on the other hand have multiple benefits. In a short power nap of 20 minutes or so, you will not enter the deeper stages of sleep, yet you will still experience REM sleep and alleviate sleep pressure.
In this manner, sticking to a quick nap rather than dozing off for an hour or more is a good idea to avoid sleep inertia.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: Most cats sleep around 15 hours a day on average, but spend only approximately 25% of this time in deep sleep.
Tips for a great cat nap
Cat naps are sometimes incidental, but if you want to try cat naps for health, here are some basic tips to improve your nap and fall asleep faster.
Quiet and cool
Some people have the magical ability to doze off anywhere, at any time, but for the majority of us, creating a calm atmosphere is necessary to induce daytime sleep. Find a quiet place that is not too hot or bright, and leave your cell phone in flight mode.
Set the alarm
A cat nap should not be more than 20 minutes. If your nap length is longer than this, you will miss the benefits. So set your alarm clock and get up on time.
Try a coffee
Scientists have found that having a cup of coffee right before a nap creates a synergistic effect so that one feels even more awake than one would after daytime napping or coffee alone. This is sometimes called a coffee nap or nappuccino.
Set the mood
Many people find that quiet, slow-paced music helps them fall asleep. There’s even music created specifically for this purpose. You can find specially composed nap music along with other tools for better sleep in the Pzizz app.
Are cat naps good for you?
The above graph shows alertness levels with and without a nap during the day. Short power naps have been scientifically proven to increase cognitive ability as well as creativity. Regular napping also has remarkable benefits for your physical health, including decreased risk of heart disease and lower stress levels. You can read more about the scientifically verified benefits of napping here.
It is worth noting that many of the positive effects of napping only apply to short naps. Longer naps do not have the same benefits as short naps, and in fact, may be detrimental to health and decrease memory performance.
For example, a 2021 study conducted among the Chinese senior population showed that subjects who slept for more than an hour throughout the day had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, cognitive performance test scores drop after a long nap due to sleep inertia. Furthermore, too long of a nap may create trouble falling asleep at night.
To put it simply, cat naps are great, but the long siesta will do you no good, so have your alarm clock handy when going for a power nap.
Who can benefit from a cat nap?
Everyone! All humans experience mid day sleep bouts due to our inherent circadian rhythm. One can say that napping is as much a part of our DNA as nighttime sleep is.
While naps cannot compensate for sleep loss, they can certainly be a useful tool if your nighttime sleep quality has been less than optimal. A short afternoon nap will boost your alertness and energy, allowing you to push through the rest of the day. Obviously, night shift workers can also make a positive difference for their health if they schedule naps during shifts.
Since naps are able to improve mental performance, one may also use them as a secret weapon before any important event such as an exam, a sports event or a job interview. Also, cat napping can be a valuable tool to combat jet lag.
To put it short, there’s always a good reason for just a few minutes of nap time!
Cat napping at work?
While sleeping on the job is traditionally frowned upon, cat napping at work can actually be good for business. It has been estimated that sleep deprivation is a health threat that costs American businesses billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, sick days, and burnouts. The solution to this is to bring nap facilities into the workplace.
The reason why sleep should be a corporate matter has to do with human biology: The early afternoon is where we usually experience a dip in our circadian rhythm, and the sleep pressure that builds up here can only be mitigated by sleep, not caffeine or other stimulants. This is why allowing employees a cat nap at work is a good idea.
Here at Restworks, we have specialized in healthy sleep solutions for businesses of any industry. Explore our range of nap pods and recliner chairs to learn more about how you can bring rest into your workplace.