Benefits Of Taking A Nap

Monday 9th March is National Nap Day. If you are into taking a nap mid-afternoon, this is the day you can nap with abandoned out in the open. It should happen every day but people have funny ideas about pausing the workday to take a snooze. A siesta isn’t idle or just for the rich.  There’s more than enough evidence to prove how everyone can benefit from a daily short snooze.

person taking a nap on the couch

The Type of Nap

Napping helps us in many ways, but to get the best results you need to know about different nap types. These are usually based on the duration of sleep. For example,

  • Emergency napping: This is a kind of quick nap you take if you’re finding it difficult to keep your eyes open. When overwhelming fatigue sets in it is dangerous to continue with some everyday tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery. Taking an emergency nap helps you through periods of sleep deprivation.
  • Habitual Napping: If you nap at the same time every day, you are taking a habitual nap. Most people who do settle down for a snooze soon after returning from work. Small children and the elderly also benefit from habitual naps.
  • The Power Nap: This type of nap gets its name from its duration. You sleep for only 10-20 minutes and it seems to boost productivity and focus. In fact, power naps may improve sleep latency, fatigue, sleepiness and overall cognitive performance.
  • The 30-minute Nap: The 30-minute nap takes you into stage II sleep. It’s a lighter kind of sleep than the next stage, REM so you don’t feel groggy after waking up.
  • The 60-Minute Sleep: Sleeping longer than half an hour but still cutting it shorter than 90 minutes can leave you feel refreshed and improve memory retention. But, it also increases the risk of waking up with a hangover-like feeling, called sleep inertia.

The Health Benefits of Napping

Here are some reasons why you should include naptime in your routine.

It Could Help Improve Your Memory

Experts know that sleep plays an important role in laying down and storing memories. A nap can have the same function to make it easier to recall your experiences throughout the day.  Naps also help with perception, motor skills and verbal recall.

young man sleeping on the couch

You Could Become More Intelligent

Naps help individuals better manage information and memory recall is clearer and faster.  It’s also easier to process information into what is relevant and what isn’t. It, therefore, becomes easier to connect up the dots and draw conclusions.

It Helps You Play the Role of a Leader

As a leader, you need to pay attention to so many things. Multitasking is part of the job but everyone’s work performance tails off as the day wears on. A nap around lunchtime helps managers stay efficient and increase their productivity for the entire working day.

Naps Improve Your Mood

If you’re feeling down, it could be you are so drained of energy it’s affecting your mood. A short nap or simply resting for a few minutes can work wonders to lift your spirits. Taking a nap can change your perspective and brighten your outlook.

man taking a nap on the chair

Naps Boost Your Immune System

One of the many health benefits of napping is that it can benefit your immune system. Stress can expose you to all sorts of health problems and give your immune system a serious blow.  Napping relieves stress and shuts off the release of stress hormones, which is why after a short 30-minute nap you can feel fresh and stress-free.

 Nap to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Yes, experts believe that napping may help keep your ticker in a pristine condition. That is mainly because napping helps lower blood pressure, especially after an emotional setback. Nap for no longer than 45 minutes to start gaining the benefits. Napping is definitely one of those essential habits for heart health.

Naps Activate Creativity

If you’re feeling out of ideas on a creative project take a short break and sleep. Napping activates the parts of the brain associated with dreaming and imagery. Many of the best ideas in literature, science and innovation were realized during a nap.

man taking a nap

Sleep Better at Night

Many people are under the impression that they won’t sleep at night if they take a nap during the day. If you nap for no longer than half an hour, it won’t happen. In fact, you are more likely to sleep better. The nap routine will lower stress levels, which at night, will help you reach REM sleep faster.

How Long Should I Nap For?

The length of your nap can change depending on what you want out of it. If your goal is to trigger effective memory processing, a short 5 or 6-minute nap will do.  Similarly, if you want to enjoy other benefits like enhanced alertness or an elevated mood, a good 20-minutes should be your target.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t sleep at naptime, relaxing still helps calm your mind and settle your nerves. Oversleeping undoes the benefits and sends you groggy, so keep the naps to less than 45 minutes.

Be careful about picking the right time to nap. Experts have confirmed that our energy levels dip between 1 pm and 3 pm as the sleep hormone, melatonin is released. You feel sleepy. This is the best time to take a nap.

Go all out, close your eyes and take 30 winks on National Nap Day. Improve your physical and mental well being by surrendering to the call of the pillow for a few minutes each afternoon. It could make your whole life easier to cope with and your routines run smoother. Not only will it stabilize your nighttime sleep patterns, but a nap also boosts your energy so you stay focused and productive all day long. In the end, you will get far much more out of your day.