The vast majority of mammals (over 85%) are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep in multiple, short spurts during each 24-hour period. Humans, however, are monophasic sleepers. Our days are divided into two specific periods – one for sleeping and one for being awake.
Some question whether or not monophasic sleeping is a natural sleep cycle; instead claiming it a learned behavior. Babies, for example, nap regularly and typically (as most parents will painfully attest to) do not have a set morning/night sleep pattern.
Experts claim that a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
According to the National Sleep foundation:
Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
Naps can increase alertness in the period directly following the nap and may extend alertness a few hours later in the day.
Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy.
Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
Napping has also been linked to improved memory and learning, reduced risk of heart disease, increased motivation to exercise and increased creativity.
Given all the great benefits of power naps, it is no surprise that airports, being full of tired travelers, are finding innovative ways to facilitate napping. Airports around the globe have started opening pay-by-the-hour micro-hotels that consist of only the basics: a bed, desk, air conditioning, internet access and sometimes a TV or sink. Ranging in size from 40-100 square feet, the “Sleepbox,” “Snoozecube,” and “Napcabs” can be found in airports in Moscow, London, Dubai and, more locally, Philly and Atlanta.
Check out the pictures here:
Airports are our portals to the world – and it seems as though that world is getting a lot more sleep-friendly….now all you need is your Mediflow travel pillow and an open mind.