Goa wants to make afternoon naps legal. Scientists agree that's a great idea
It’s 3.39pm, and I’m writing this story while ignoring my not-so-sonorous yawns. I’m aware that in some parallel universe (say Goa or West Bengal), most people are enjoying their nap time and have entered the state of deep sleep. It’s the unofficial post lunch ritual. And it can soon become official, at least in Goa, if political leader Vijay Sardesai comes into power as CM.
The Forward Party candidate has promised his voters that if elected, he will make the nap time between 2pm and 4pm mandatory for all. Claims dreams are made of, we say.
We and sleep experts the world over believe that this is one of the more realistic and beneficial political manifesto claims ever. Nap time isn’t limited to toddlers, and several studies have harped on its health benefits.
Napping reduces fatigue and increases alertness, lightens your mood and improves cognitive functioning, including reaction time and better memory.
“During lockdown, I divided my lunch hour into 20 minutes for eating, followed by 30 minutes for a quick nap. I always set an alarm, and have also alerted my colleague to call me up if I don’t resurrect in time. It gives a fresh start to my post-lunch work hours. I don’t know how I will adjust once I am back to office,” says Oindrilla Gupta, a Mumbai-based writer.
Perhaps, it’s time to stop feeling guilty about investing an hour or so in daily self-care and catching some Zzzzs after lunch. But before you go off the work radar for the next hour, we offer the only siesta disclaimer: how long should you ideally nap for?
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, while a 30- to 90-minute nap in older adults appears to have brain benefits, anything longer than an hour and a half may create problems with cognition, the ability to think and form memories.
Remember those evenings when you jolted out of a three-hour-long nap thinking you are writing your 3rd grade maths exam, and have forgotten how to add 15 and 20?
Schedule for your nap time:
Sleep experts recommend 15-30 minute-long naps since waking up from deeper sleep zones can be difficult and longer naps can leave you eyes-wide-open at night, especially, for light sleepers.
Light sleep (15-35 minutes)
Your brain has sunk into slumber, but your body is still transitioning. You are asleep, but can be easily awakened by sounds, smells and other stimuli.
Deep sleep (20-40 minutes)
Your body reaches SleepVille — your muscles relax and you are less susceptible to external stimuli. Your brain’s chamber of thoughts shuts down, and you don’t dream in this stage. Your body secretes growth hormones during deep sleep and this is when cellular rebuilding and repair takes place.
REM sleep (20-40 minutes)
After your body is done with its maintenance operations, it’s time for your brain to start its jhaadu-pocha session. The brain is activated, it eliminates the meaningless information, builds memory, and you start dreaming. Pretty restorative, right?
We leave you with a pro-tip for careless nappers and deep sleepers: just set an alarm.