Have you ever wondered how does napping affects your organism? Most of you probably don’t have enough time to take a nap throughout the day, but a quick power nap is exactly what you may be needing. All the benefits of napping may come as a surprise to you and the best thing is that it really does not take much time.
Napping has benefited by itself. While lots of people see things like napping as a sign of laziness. But, do you know that it may improve your brain function, problem-solving skills, verbal memory, perceptual learning, object learning, and statistical learning. In fact, most doctors and scientists recommend that you have one every day! Naps are great for your fatigue, and you will never be moody again.
Research to date shows us that naps, when done the right way, can help balance hormones naturally and reduce sleepiness overall — especially the “lull” many of us experience in the afternoon — as well as improve mental and physical performance.
We all love to take a nap during the day, but only a few are aware that napping actually reboots the brain. Naps improve physiological benefits and rejuvenate your body and mind. Many different countries have a custom in their culture to nap after lunch. And did you know there were a few companies that allow their workers to actually take a quick nap after lunch? It’s true, Apple and Google are two of those companies. Coincidentally or not, nearly all such states have a very low rate of fatal heart attacks. So, we are certain that napping is beneficial in terms of heart health, but what are the other benefits of napping? But before we start talking about its benefits, let us first start with how long are we supposed to nap?
How Long Should You Nap?
Limiting your naps to 10 to 20 minutes can leave you feeling more alert and refreshed. Experts say a 10 to 20-minute “power nap” is best for refreshing your mind and increasing energy and alertness. Therefore, they advise a 10-20 minute nap before some important event to boost speed and stability. However, the length of your nap will determine what sort of benefits you’re likely to experience. According to the WebMD, napping is divided into different categories:
20 Minute Nap – This short nap, also referred to as ‘power naps,’ do enhances memory, and has a large effect on mental alertness and motor learning skills.
20 To 30 Minute Nap – This length of nap enough to enhance your creativity, and also boost your memory at the same time.
30 To 60 Minute Nap – This type of nap has an enormously beneficial impact on your decision-making skills. It is enough to improve the part of your memory that’s held as responsible for memorizing things such as the alphabet, directions, etc.
60 To 90 Minute Nap – Taking this type of nap will ensure that you get REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which makes it the most beneficial of them all. Once you have reached REM sleep, it’s almost you’ve provided your brain the opportunity to reset itself. One could say it’s like starting at the beginning again. Studies have shown that a 60 to 90-minute nap can have a dramatic effect on the brain in terms of problem-solving.
Health Benefits Of Napping
According to Camilo A. Ruiz, DO, medical director at Choice Physicians Sleep Center in South Florida, A good nap allows for the recovery of brain function, memory consolidation, the ridding of toxins that build up throughout the day, and a burst of energy. “The idea with napping is that we can reset that trigger and hopefully be able to function at a higher level,” he added.
When done properly, there’s nothing wrong with taking a nap. In fact, a short siesta can boost your mental and physical health. Here’s a look at what benefits a nap can do for you.
Improves Cognitive Function
We know that a certain proportion of our learning capabilities are dependent on sleep but taking a nap leaves you feeling more alert, able to help with learning and remembering information just as well as sleep can.
In a recent study, researchers looked at the effects of napping on 10 male adults, the results from a 2007 study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that a post-lunch power nap improves alertness and improves their cognitive skills, too. It showed that the group of men who napped experienced significantly better improvements.
Research also shows that naps reduce the level of adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and plays a role in cognition.
Can Help Improve Physical Performance
Too tired to hit the gym after work? According to research, a short nap may help enhance performance. Researchers tested 17 male runners on a high-intensity, short-duration shuttle run task and found that runners who had taken a nap of either 25, 35, or 45 minutes outperformed those who hadn’t napped. Studies have found a correlation between short naps and improved athletic abilities, including faster sprint times and better motor reactions.
Improve Learning And Memory
The benefits of napping on learning begin early on. A good nap right after learning something new appears to help us retain that information. Naps also promote memory consolidation (the process where our brain turns information into long-term memory).
Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School compared napping with cramming to see which helped students remember information they had recently learned. Both strategies were effective for short-term memory consolidation. However, the students who napped immediately after learning the material still retained the information a week later, whereas those who crammed had lost it.
Not only does napping improve your focus and memory, which can help you learn and retain information, but studies have also found that ability to learn new information is enhanced immediately after a nap.
Improves Your Mood
Napping during the day may help you recover from negative emotions. They’ve also been linked to increased positivity and better tolerance for frustration. A recent study of 14 amateur athletes looked at the effects of nap duration on mood, physical performance, and more. When researchers measured the amount of tension, depression, and anger the athletes felt, they found that those who took a nap reported a drop in negative emotions. Taking a quick nap can also help you feel less tired and irritable if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the previous night.
The Bottom Line
Although short naps can be beneficial, it’s important to take them early in the afternoon so they don’t interfere with your nighttime sleep routine. Still, many of us want to know how to take a nap that won’t leave us feeling more tired. The trick is to keep your nap to 20 to 30 minutes and you can reap numerous health benefits.
Napping can improve your memory, keep you alert and attentive, help you perform better physically and mentally, and elevate your mood.
And if you find that you’re often sleepy during the day and naps don’t seem to help, it’s a good idea to follow up with your healthcare provider. They can help determine if your daytime sleepiness is due to an underlying condition.