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Why It's Smart to Take a Nap

Healthy reasons for napping

By Consumer Bob
|  Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013  |  Updated 11:50 AM PDT
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Oh, the beloved nap. According to experts, there are all kinds of health benefits associated with napping. NBC 7's Consumer Bob reports on why it's smart to take a little power nap once in a while.

Oh, the beloved nap. According to experts, there are all kinds of health benefits associated with napping. NBC 7's Consumer Bob reports on why it's smart to take a little power nap once in a while.

Kyle Burns says napping gets him through the day.

"I usually nap for about 20 minutes to an hour," said Burns, a college senior at the University of San Diego.

Sophomore Jacob Hirsch does the same thing.

"Once a day for 15 minutes, sometimes an hour," said Hirsch. 

But, then again, college students are known for having strange sleep habits, so what about people in the business world?

Tom Dannemiller is President of Sabia Incorporated in Rancho Bernardo. He says napping has been part of his routine for 15 years.

"If I can stop in the middle of the day and take a nap, I can recover that energy and be a lot more effective," said Dannemiller.

He usually sleeps in his car for about 30 minutes and believes it makes all the difference.

"My head is clearer, my energy level is high," said Dannemiller.

The Director of Sleep Medicine at  the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Atul Malhotra says naps can be restorative.

"The power nap is a brief sleep that people take in the afternoon," said Dr. Malhotra. "And, they feel recharged or rejuvenated after doing that."

Dr. Malhotra has worked with professional athletes who often take naps before a big game saying it helps them perform at a higher level.

But, there's a science when it comes to napping. According to Dr. Malhorta, the best time to nap is often between Noon and 4 p.m.

"That's when our body clock is telling us it may be a reasonable time to sleep," he explained.

But he said you don't want to sleep too long -- about 15 to 30 minutes seems to be the best length for a good nap. If you feel lethargic or groggy after your nap, you may be sleeping too long.

Napping if you suffer from insomnia is not a good idea, and napping does not take the place of a good night's sleep.

Studies show that people who don't get enough sleep can suffer from heart problems, diabetes and obesity.

For Dannemiller, all he wants is to be alert in the afternoon.

"Just stop, go sit down and rest for 30 minutes and you'll be in a better place," he said.

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