I am an avid fan of the afternoon power nap, even though I have not had one for ages because of work and when I haven’t been working, because time is too valuable to waste. Besides, I tend to get enough sleep at night anyway (around 8 hours) so I don’t usually feel tired in the afternoon.
Yesterday I had my first afternoon nap in years while watching the Australian Open — a match between a Danish woman and an Italian guy — and fell asleep as the match reached the end of the first set. I woke up midway through the third set, probably about an hour later, expecting to feel refreshed and energised for the night ahead. But no, I was groggy and exhausted!
It literally took me a few minutes of staring passionlessly into nothingness before I managed to compose myself as I had to drive out. I felt a little better after dinner but when I got back home I was ready to collapse into bed. And I did.
So how is it that my afternoon nap had the opposite effect of what I expected? How could more sleep make me more tired?
Anyway, I did some quick research, and as it turns out, I didn’t really have a ‘nap’. I had a ‘sleep’. According to this article, there are seveal stages of sleep — stage 1 is just drifting off, stage 2 is brain activity slowing, and stages 3 and 4 run into deep sleep. An afternoon nap ought not to take more than 30 minutes, or else you risk falling into stages 3 and 4, which is what must have happened to me.
Looks like the next time I would like to take a nap I should set an alarm.
Talk about a post about nothing.