Take naps, it's healthy
It’s easy to get into the mind-set that taking naps are for people who have a lot of time on their hands or are just plain lazy. But you have to admit; there are days where the temptation of closing your eyes for just a little bit is almost too much to resist!
Plus, there are ways to take naps that are healthy for you. Give into those temptations now and then. There are plenty of benefits to taking naps that can help you get through the rest of the day feeling more energized than ever. Napping is not just for kids anymore and with these following tips you won’t have to feel guilty getting an extra snooze in here and there.
“If you get tired, learn to rest”
So why take naps?
Scientific research shows that midday dozing has countless benefits to both the body and mind. In fact, if we base this thought over the fact that 85% of mammal species sleep for shorter periods throughout the day, it seem silly that humans have yet to truly test this pattern. Our bodies are biologically programmed for two periods of intense sleep, one around 2-4am and the other around 1-3pm. So the reason you might feel a wave of drowsiness during the afternoon can truly be attributed to your body’s natural clock.
If you’re feeling a bit sleepy midday and can spare a few moments, here’s how a nap can help:
Productivity: Take naps for like 10-20 minutes. It helps to prevent you feeling ‘burned out’ and rejuvenate your creativity and reaction time, thus making you feel more productive.
Happiness: Surprisingly, napping releases serotonin, the neurotransmitter that produces feelings of wellbeing, helping to alleviate stress.
Blood Pressure: Research has shown that a 45 min nap can lower blood pressure
Weight Control: Naps can help reduce hunger! A lack of sleep is known to have a side effect of producing the ghrelin hormone, which sparks hunger. So taking naps can actually keep food off your mind!
Memory: Taking midday naps can also help improve memory retention. It also clears temporary mental storage areas, allowing new information to be stored.
Heart Disease: A study showed that people who are used to take naps for 30 minutes three times a week were 37% less susceptible to death by heart-related diseases.
So How Long Should I Be Taking Naps?
It’s easy to get carried away with a nap. You lay down at 2pm and all of a sudden, it’s 5pm and you’ve wasted a big part of your day. There are actually different benefits to napping for different lengths of time and some are better than others.
10-20 minutes: This power nap is perfect for when you have limited time to devote to a nap. However, it is also ideal for a boost in alertness and energy. By only snoozing for a few minutes, you are limited to the lighter stages of non-rapid eye movement sleep, making waking up and getting back to your day easier.
30 Minutes: There are some studies that show a 30 minute nap can actually cause sleep inertia, where you feel groggy upon waking up for the next 30 minutes or so before feeling the benefits of the nap. It might be best to cut or add ten minutes to this nap for the best immediate results.
40-60 Minutes: This time period is best for boosting brain-power including memory retention. You will most likely enter into slow-wave, a deep sleep. The only downside is you will most likely still experience some grogginess waking up.
90 Minutes: If you’re lucky to have the time for a 90 minute nap that is reason enough! The good news is this it’s a full cycle of sleep, meaning you will most likely enter into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and probably the dream stage. This leads to improved emotional and procedural memory plus creativity. You will avoid sleep inertia, making waking up easy!
Tips for your Best Nap Yet!
Create the right mood: Light inhibits melatonin, an important hormone that regulates sleep so create a dim or dark sleep environment or even use an eye mask. Try to limit noise as well, if possible.
Set an Alarm: You don’t want to be worried about napping for too long, that can inhibit your ability to fall asleep! Also, just setting an alarm will help to ensure you take naps for the desired amount of time
Lie Down: It takes 50% more time to fall asleep if you are in an up-right position
Drink Coffee: This one might seem counterproductive, but it takes 20-30 minutes for the caffeine to hit your body. So if you are looking for a power nap that ends in optimal energy, have a cup of coffee before settling in for your nap!
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