Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Power of Naps: The Distinct Effects of Various Nap Lengths

Preparation is the key to success when it comes to taking life-changing examinations. The results of an international English proficiency test, such as the TOEFL, can shape your future abroad. For this reason, many test takers enroll in exam-specific training facilities to maximize their preparation time.

toefl review

Attending a review center for TOEFL can improve your chances of getting a high score. Instructors in TOEFL review centers in Cebu, for instance, use mock examinations and test-focused materials in their training courses. The usage of such texts can help you acclimate to the pressures of the exam.

Aside from enrolling in a review center for TOEFL, you can also make the most of your preparation period by incorporating well-calculated short rests into your review practice. Napping has many proven advantages that can elevate your training productivity.  It can reduce stress, heighten awareness and boost your memory retention. However, acquiring these benefits takes more than just catching catnaps whenever time allows.

Different nap lengths yield different results. To make the most out of your naps, here are ideal short rest durations and their beneficial effects:

Nap length: 5 minutes
Description: Also known as “ultra-short sleep episodes,” a research proved that taking approximately five minutes of rest enhances memory.   After playing solitaire for an hour, students were asked to recall a list of words that were shown to them before the game. Some participants were allowed a five-minute catnap before the experiment. The study showed that those who took a short rest remembered more words compared to those who stayed awake. There are also other studies that showed similar results.
Benefit(s): Boost information retention

Nap length: 10 to 20 minutes
Description: The 10-minute nap is one of the most recommended rest lengths. A study recorded the effects of different nap periods—specifically 5, 10, 20 and 30-minute naps—and its results revealed that the most beneficial rest duration is the 10-minute nap.  It yields long lasting benefits and offers the least risk of sleep inertia*.
Benefit(s): Enhance awareness, boost cognitive functions and reduce fatigue
*Sleep inertia refers to the feeling of disorientation or grogginess that usually happens when sleep is interrupted. It also impairs your motor dexterity, reduces your alertness and dulls your cognitive performance for a short amount of time.

Nap length: 20 to 30 minutes
Description: While the advantageous effects of 20- to 30-minute naps often kick in 35 minutes after waking up, you can take these long rest durations without interfering with your regular nighttime sleep schedule. Sleep inertia is the main setback for this duration.  
Benefit(s): Improve reaction time and alertness, enhance cognitive performance and reduce tiredness 

Nap length: 60 minutes
Description: By taking a 60-minute nap, you can enjoy the restorative effects of deep sleep, which significantly boosts memory and information retention. Though sleep inertia is almost unavoidable, it is the most recommended nap length for people who need to remember information, names and faces. 
Benefit(s): Elevate mental internalization, reduce stress, improve memory retention and other cognitive functions

Nap length: 90 to 120 minutes
Description: Naps that last for one and a half hours or more often fall under the category called “siesta naps.” Naps that last for 90 to 120 minutes encompass all phases of the sleep cycle, thus eliminating sleep inertia after waking up.
Benefit(s): Clear the mind, enhance creativity, minimize stress and enhance procedural and emotional memory.

Aside from attending learning facilities, such as TOEFL review centers in Cebu, maximize your preparation time by integrating well-timed rests to your review practices.

Given all the points above, different nap lengths offer different advantages. A five-minute catnap is great if you only need short-term memory boosts. Napping for 10 to 20 minutes do wonders in improving your overall awareness and mental performance. Meanwhile, though you can experience slight grogginess for a few minutes after waking up, a 20- to 30-minute nap can elevate your alertness, productivity and cognitive performance. Take a 60-minute rest for maximum information retention. Furthermore, napping for 90 minutes or more can improve your creativity, emotional and procedural memory.

Consider each nap lengths’ effects and select one that best suits your TOEFL training schedule. 

  • Lejuwaan, Jordan. “Alternative Sleep Cycles: You Don’t Really Need 6-8 Hours!” HighExistence. Accessed January 03, 2017.
  • Dvorsky, George. “The science behind power naps, and why they're so damn good for you.” September 26, 2013. Accessed January 03, 2017.
  • Whittington, Zak. “The Benefits of Napping - Sleeping Strategically to Increase Your Energy, Memory, and Intelligence.” End Your Sleep Deprivation. 2012. Accessed January 03, 2017.
  • “Napping Tips: 7 Expert Strategies For Maximizing Your Naptime.” The Huffington Post. May 28, 2013. Accessed January 03, 2017.
  • Waxman, Olivia. “Napping Around: Colleges Provide Campus Snooze Rooms.” Time. August 29, 2014. Accessed January 03, 2017.
  • Olaf, Lhal, et al. “An ultra short episode of sleep is sufficient to promote declarative memory performance.” Wiley Online Library. February 11, 2008. Accessed January 3, 2017.


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