by Rebecca Frankel
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If you think napping is for toddlers, then you are completely mistaken. Due to natural circadian rhythms, people are naturally more drowsy in the afternoon, about eight hours after waking. Research actually shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress and improve cognitive function with a nap. Mid-day sleep, or ?power nap?s, mean more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, extra productivity and ultimately better health.

However, naps only serve to supplement the nighttime sleep. Teenagers need a minimum of eight hours of sleep per day. If you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss sleep for several days in a row, you build up a sleep deficit, which impairs reaction time, judgment, vision, information processing, short-term memory, performance and patience. When you?re tired you?re also more moody, aggressive and stressed.

So why nap? Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning. The body is in fact designed for this, as most people?s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoons. Experts advise adults to limit naps to 15 or 30 minutes, since sleeping longer means deeper stages of sleep, from which it?s harder to awaken. Also, longer naps can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. However, research has shown that a one hour nap has many more restorative effects than a 30-minute nap, including a much greater improvement in cognitive function.