According to the latest reports, people in modern society are chronically sleep-deprived. There are many culprits for lack of sleep such as hectic schedules, busy lifestyle, work, children, and even technology, staying up all night to watch TV etc. Lack of sleep can significantly affect your health which is why you should strive to establish a healthy sleep pattern that involves going to bed every night at the same time and waking up every morning at the same time as well. Besides getting enough sleep at night, it’s also recommended to take short, power naps. In this article, we’re going to mention 5 reasons why you should take a power nap every day, in case you don’t do that already.
1. It Improves Memory and Learning
Okay, how many times have you read an article about tips for better memory which included recommendation to take a short power nap during the day? It’s not something author of that article would write just because he or she feels like it. In fact, benefits of naps on memory and learning have been documented in various studies.
Taking a short nap can improve the value of study session. For instance, even a 20-minute nap can help “clear your mind” and process and retain already learned information. It also allows your brain to remember new information more effectively. Furthermore, taking a nap between 60 and 90 minutes also offers various perks and benefits. Nature Neuroscience study conducted by Sara Mednick and team of scientists of the University of California revealed that a 60 to 90-minute nap is as good as a night of sleep for learning.
2. Nap Increases Alertness
As your day goes on, you slowly start to lose energy. You can spot the loss of energy at moments when your brain just wanders off and you’re unable to concentrate on your work or school assignment. Power nap can fix this problem. For example, Progress in Brain Research study conducted by Lovato N. and team of researchers of the Flinders University from Adelaide, Australia showed that naps significantly increase alertness.
A new biological process suggests that sleep onset followed by at least 7 to 10 minutes of sleep can result in massive increase of alertness because it allows fast dissipation of inhibition in the wake-active cells that are linked with sleep-switch mechanism.
Experts stress the importance of avoiding taking naps that are too long. The reason is simple; long naps could keep you awake at night which isn’t something you want. Harvey B. Simon, editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch, suggests taking 20 – 40 minutes naps to feel more alert and energized without being awake all night.
3. Improves Overall Mental Health
Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences study conducted by Hideki Tanaka and team of scientists of the Hiroshima International University found that 30-minute naps after lunch significantly improved mental health of elderly. The study included 11 elderly participants who had to take a short nap after lunch and perform various medium-intensity exercises at night. Experts discovered that short nap was effective in improving the recovery of attention, brain function, and concentration.
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4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study that inspected the link between cardiovascular health and sleep during the day. Results of the study were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and they show that taking a nap poses as an effective weapon in fight against coronary mortality. In fact, people who take the short nap during the day are 37% less likely to die due to heart disease! That’s not all, men who take short naps at work have a 64% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Sleep-deprived individuals have a higher risk of suffering from some cardiovascular disease due to stress, fatigue and many other factors. Naps are relaxing and reduce fatigue thus allowing our body to repair itself more effectively.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
5. Heightens Sensory Perception
Dr. Sara C. Mednick of the University of California and author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life taking a short nap during the day can restore the sensitivity of taste, sight, and hearing. Furthermore, napping also increases your creativity by relaxing your mind thus allowing new association to form in it. Here, stress-relief also plays a major role. Relaxing effect of nap allows you to fully express yourself and use your inspiration.
Getting enough sleep is highly important for overall health and wellbeing. If you don’t have a habit of taking naps regularly, this article showed you why you should do so. Short power naps can improve your concentration, mental and cardiovascular health and they can also improve your productivity and creativity. Ideally, you should make sure your naps aren’t too long otherwise you’d be up all night; 20 to 30 minutes is enough.