By Isabelle GerretsenFeatures correspondent@izzygerretsen

Getty Images Japanese workers napping on park benches (Credit: Getty Images)Getty Images

Many of us refuse to power nap, thinking that it might affect a good night’s sleep later. But it may in fact be good for us.

In many cultures, having an afternoon nap is a daily ritual. The Spanish are known to enjoy a daily siesta and some , or a diagnosis of as well as mood. “You consolidate memories, for sure. Your reaction times might improve and there may be some improvement in terms of coordinated performance,” says Morgan.

A study co-authored by Morgan found that elite athletes, who train up to 17 hours per week, and our body temperature drops, explains Morgan.

If you try to nap in the morning your body temperature is still rising, meaning you feel more alert, he says. If you leave it too late in the day, you will struggle to fall asleep at night.

If you nap for more than 20 minutes, you are likely to wake up feeling groggy and disoriented, known technically as sleep inertia, says Espie. “This is obviously counterproductive as you will struggle to get going afterwards,” says Espie.

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Sleep inertia relates to the depth of sleep and after 30 minutes you are drifting into slow wave sleep, also known as deep sleep, which is difficult to wake up from, says Morgan.

If you are going to start having naps, it is important to keep them brief and make them part of your lifestyle, like the tradition of the siesta in Spain, says Espie.

“Naps are common in many cultures in Mediterranean climates. But we do need to recognise that one effect of that is that people living there fall asleep much later and don’t fall asleep as easily because they’ve had a nap,” he says.

“Napping is not a choice, it’s a habit,” says Espie. “Once you get into the habit, your brain helps you stick with it.”

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