Have you ever dreamed of taking a nap all day, and once you take one, you wake up badly? Well, this is probably all related to sleep inertia.
A mid-day cat nap has many benefits. It is known to reduce stress, improve our mood, strengthen the immune system and make you feel less tired. A gentle nap after lunch is believed to help us improve our work performance and stay alert.
There’s also the fun “nappuccino,” when people drink a steaming cup of coffee just before a siesta. Apparently, this small dose of caffeine can help people feel a little more recharged when they wake up, because they’ve had a double hit of sleep and caffeine.
Unfortunately for some, those little naps just don’t work, and when they wake up they feel even sleepier and maybe even grumpier than they did before taking their little nap.
Often when we sleep we go through different stages, there are rapid eye movements (REM) and non-rapid eye movements (NREM). NREM normally forms the majority of the sleep pattern, and even that we can divide into light, intermediate, and deep sleep.
Typically in a sleep cycle we go from unconscious to NREM to REM (when we dream often). So why do we feel so groggy when we wake up from a nap?
Well, it’s something called “sleep inertia,” and it can happen if your nap was too short or too long (you just need to nap right, like Loopy). gold). The CDC defines it as “a temporary disorientation and decline in performance and/or mood after awakening from sleep”, during which “people may exhibit slower reaction time, more short-term memory low and speed of thought, reasoning, memory and learning.” This is about the time when your body doesn’t want to wake up because it’s in that NREM sleep. Some people even call it “sleep drunkenness”.
Typically, this sensation does not last long, normally about 30 to 60 minutes, although some people may experience it for up to two hours.
It is not known why sleep inertia occurs. But there are a few working theories:
- This may be due to a small molecule called adenosine. It is something that builds up during the day and, when we sleep, decreases. This could be why we feel so tired after a nap – it just hasn’t had time to be fully cleansed yet.
- It can be caused by an increase in delta waves. These waves are more common in NREM and are likely to increase after sleep loss or deprivation. If your brain has not reduced delta waves, it could cause sleep inertia.
- During sleep cycles, there may be an increase or decrease in blood flow to the brain. People with chronic fatigue syndrome may have reduced blood flow, which is accompanied by symptoms similar to sleep inertia. It is possible that the reduction in blood is related to sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is something that can impact people who work rotating shifts or are on call regularly. This can decrease cognitive alertness at work and slow reactions. This, in turn, could increase work-related injuries and bad decisions.
So how can we overcome this?
“Napping or napping for up to 15 minutes prevents a person from entering the deep stages of sleep that make you feel like you’re still half asleep after the nap,” says Dr. Benjamin Nager , a neurologist at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital. said POPSUGAR.
So maybe get a stopwatch on the go the next time you want to take a quick nap.
The content of this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare professionals with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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