In an age of immediacy and promptness, naps have a pretty bad reputation. For years, many have seen them as way out of a high stakes project or a continuous form of lethargy, but news flash: napping isn’t just for children anymore. And if we are being honest, kids are definitely benefiting from naps.
Whether you’re sleep deprived or just looking for a way to relax during the day, research suggests the rhetoric built around napping is kind of old-fashioned. In fact, numerous studies boost an array of benefits for napping every day that include helping to boost your memory, reduce stress, and enhance your productivity.
In case you hadn’t noticed post-Daylight Saving Time because you might be a tad tired, today is National Napping Day! If you are feeling a bit groggy from losing that extra hour of sleep that winter so warmly provided, we outline a few benefits of why napping is so awesome and help you on your way to an afternoon siesta.
With the way our culture has become, we are always on the go. But the reality is, we can’t race without rest even if we feel there is too much to do. When we avoid napping and adequate rest, we end up stressed, frustrated and burned out. Like rebooting a computer heavy with its cache, napping is its own reboot for our body. It helps relieve you of stress and gives you a fresh start to your routines. Author and journalist, David K. Randall writes in his book, “Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep” that naps promote a greater emotional resilience, improved cognition and prevents the day’s wear and tear from frying your brain.
Makes you more productive and alert
As the day wears, we tend to get lethargic and lose focus, but if you are looking to be more productive in your daily rituals, the secret lies in managing your energy — not your time. In addition to the National Sleep Foundation recommending naps for “improved alertness and performance” without the grog, a study from Harvard found 30-minute naps boosted the efficiency of workers, returning them to their start-of-the-day productivity levels.
When you don’t get sleep, do you remember how you get? Cranky, overly sensitive and just drained are a few feelings we often experience when sleep deprived. But a study from UC Berkeley discovered napping has the power to reverse negative emotional reactivity to anger and fear, while enhancing happy expressions. Researchers found napping not only bathes your brain in serotonin to regulate mood, sleep and appetite, but it produces ample feelings of contentment and overall well-being.
If you are feeling stuck on an idea and can’t seem to find the answer you’re looking for, a nap has the power to help improve your sensory perception and loosen up ideas stirring in your head. Researchers at the University of San Diego found that ‘Rapid Eye Movement’ (REM) sleep enhances problem-solving skills, especially in how our brain fosters the formation of associative networks. Moreover, they suggest that REM enhances creative processing more than any other sleep or wake state.
The drawbacks of excessive napping and solutions:
While napping boasts a slew of benefits for a healthier well-being, it isn’t for everyone. Some might end up with a plethora of negative effects that range from sleep inertia that brings about grogginess, to insomnia and poor quality of sleep. To get the most out of your nap, ensure they are short — about 10 to 30 minutes each, because the longer you nap, the more likely you’ll feel groggy after. Make sure you take naps in the daytime, mid-afternoon at best as this will less likely interfere with nighttime sleep. When you nap, be mindful of your environment and make sure it’s a cool, dark place with few distractions.
Do you like napping? What benefits do you reap from an afternoon siesta? Share with us your experiences in the comments below.