Does the thought of stealing some peace and quiet for a mid-afternoon nap seem like an indulgence you really can't justify?
Well, you may want to think again. Psychologists, scientists, and sleep researchers around the globe have found plenty of upsides to daytime snoozing.
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5 Benefits of Napping
1. A nap can improve your mood.
Studies done on people who nap mid-day are less likely to become frustrated and are able to regulate their emotions more effectively.
2. A nap can improve your level of attention and concentration.
From shift workers to students, people who nap often have better focus after they wake up. This can translate to better mental and motor performance, the implication of which means fewer accidents and mistakes, especially on the job.
3. A nap can improve your memory.
Cramming for a test or presentation? Taking a nap break while studying can help solidify new material in the memory processing centers of your brain, allowing you to recall new information more easily.
4. A nap can increase your energy.
Skip the p.m. coffee break! Studies indicate an afternoon nap is about the equivalent to a typical dose of caffeine when it comes to increasing alertness and energy.
5. A nap can help counteract the negative effects of a poor night's sleep.
While never a replacement for a proper eight hours of Zzz's, naps can be essential if you're experiencing significant (and often dangerous) drowsiness and fatigue after a tough night.
Are All Naps Created Equal?
For all the beneficial effects, however, nap fans should snooze with caution, as there are some noted drawbacks, as well.
For instance, daytime sleep can disrupt the quality of nighttime sleep, which should be the primary way people get their rest. Additionally, excessive or atypical sleeping has been linked with increased inflammation in the body, which may contribute to the development of chronic health diseases.
To help mitigate the potential drawbacks to napping, keep the following tips in mind:
- While studies have been done on naps lasting as long as 90 minutes, the National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping naps shorter, around 20-30 minutes long. This is the best way to maximize your level of post-snooze alertness without leading to grogginess and disrupted sleep later at night.
- If possible, try to nap in a quiet, cool, and dark room to maximize sleep quality.
- Avoid sleeping too late in the day.
- Do you work a 9-5 job? Talk to your employer about designating a "rest room" at your office (it's not as outlandish as it sounds), or simply take your nap in your office during your lunch break.
The bottom line:
Naps can be beneficial, they're not necessarily for everyone. So pay attention to how you respond to a midday snooze if you find a chance to grab one.