Doctors encourage Americans to take more naps - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Doctors encourage Americans to take more naps

(KLTV) -

A new report says that almost half of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 are not getting a good night's rest. Lack of sleep can impact anything from productivity to even your weight. The report says napping can help. There is a right and wrong way to nap.

Stress, shift work or maybe a crying baby in the middle of the night, whatever the reason, it may be impossible to get those eight straight hours.

“The truth is as a society we are sleep deprived so most of us don't get enough sleep and napping can help us catch up on that,” Dr. Peter Obesso said. Dr. Obesso is a sleep specialist for Trinity Mother Frances.

Tom Sprankle is a daily napper.

“I love taking naps,” Sprankle said.

He may be on to something that's backed by research.

“There was one that was done by NASA on pilots and what it showed was that pilots that took a 20 minute nap improved their performance for up to 10 hours,” Dr. Obesso said.

He also says that lack of sleep can be a contributor to weight gain.

“It's been shown that sleep really affects our weight. If you're not getting enough sleep, you're much more likely to gain weight,” Dr. Obesso added.

We have two times of day our bodies experience a lull, one between two and four in the morning and one between one and three in the afternoon, which explains why when you're finished eating lunch, you are ready for a nap.

Always after lunch, it's good to take a short nap. I have an easy chair that I push back and catch a few z’s,” Sprankle said.

There are a few people out there that don't like naps, and maybe because they are not doing it right. Dr. Obesso says the ideal nap is between 10-20 minutes or 90-120 minutes. He warns taking a nap between 40-50 minutes can be counterproductive.

“What happens is we all have a natural sleep cycle. Our sleep cycle is between 90-120 minutes. Most of us don't have the time to take an hour and a half to two hour nap. The problem is if we take a 40 or 50 minute nap. We wake up with sleep inertia. That’s grogginess that lingers", Dr. Obesso said.

The trick is to make sure you have healthy sleeping habits, so you don't pick up other unhealthy habits to fight fatigue. So here are some good sleeping tips:

1). Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even during weekends.

2). Keep your room dark, quiet and cool.

3). Avoid spicy food.

4). Avoid alcohol at least three hours before sleep.

5). Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and night.

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