When was the last time you had a good nap? If it’s been a while, you may want to make some time to lay back and grab a few moments of shuteye. Whether on a bed, couch, or hammock, a quick nap can be the highlight of your day. However, naps aren’t a part of daily American life like the siesta in Spain or the riposo in Italy. That may be worth reconsidering as there are numerous benefits associated with regular naps.
The greatest benefits
While napping allows you to get some rest, there are more benefits than just feeling refreshed. Below are some of the potential benefits you may experience from regular napping.
Sleep plays a significant role in how we store memories. A study in China of almost 3,000 seniors found that individuals who napped for thirty to ninety minutes in the early afternoon had better word recall, a key indicator of memory, than those who didn’t nap for up to ninety minutes. Additionally, a study in Sleep found that young adults who napped for an hour after learning new information retained the knowledge as well as those who continued studying.
If it’s been a tough day, a nap may be able to lift your spirits. Napping for just ten to twenty minutes can help you wake up feeling more cheerful and revitalized. A short rest can also help increase the production of serotonin, a chemical created in the brain that can positively affect mood.
If you’re experiencing post-lunch sluggishness, napping for ten to twenty minutes, sometimes called a power nap, can help improve your attentiveness. A power nap may allow you to enter the second stage of sleep, when brain activity begins to slow. Achieving this stage of sleep may enhance both your concentration and attentiveness.
Improved problem solving
A study in the Journal of Sleep Research discovered that taking a nap after a learning task positively impacted how the brain interpreted the information. People who napped woke up with more insight, which can help achieve awareness and reach conclusions.
A Stanford University study found that inadequate sleep can increase ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and decrease leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Researchers also found that insufficient sleep can lead to a 30 percent higher risk of obesity. This study suggests that napping for twenty to thirty minutes can help reset the balance of ghrelin and leptin.
A study found that individuals who napped for forty-five to sixty minutes had lower blood pressure after experiencing stress. Additionally, a different study of 3,600 people in the medical journal Heart found that individuals who reported napping once or twice a week had a lower risk of heart attack and stroke than those who didn’t nap.
Nap with caution
While a quick nap can be beneficial, it can also wreak havoc on your day. Be aware that a quick snooze can cause sleep inertia, which will make you feel foggy or disoriented when you wake up from your slumber. Taking a nap that lasts too long can cause various sleeping issues at night. Also, if you experience insomnia or poor sleep at night, napping might heighten these issues.
Do it right
While naps can be beneficial, there is a method you should follow for the greatest benefits. Try to keep your nap under thirty minutes, as even a ten-minute snooze has benefits, and nap sometime between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.—the earlier, the better to help reduce impacting your nighttime rest. Don’t force it. If you can’t fall asleep when you try napping, continue about your day and try again later if you can’t shake off the tired feeling.
Use these tips to make every nap a refreshing one:
- Choose a cool, quiet place.
- Make the room as dark as possible.
- Try to take a nap at the same time each day.
- Give yourself time to wake up before resuming your day.
- Nap on your couch or a chair to avoid being too comfortable.
- Set an alarm.
- Avoid looking at your phone immediately before and after your nap.
- Drink some caffeine right before a nap so it kicks in as you wake up.
The next time you could use a few minutes of rest, lay back, put your feet up, and enjoy a little shuteye. You’ve earned it.
This article was prepared by ReminderMedia.
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