You come home after a tiring day at work (only those who are lucky enough to get home before evening), your eyes getting all drowsy and body desperately waiting to hit the bed. Or even while at the office you constantly try sneaking from your boss to get a quick nap before resuming work. One can even be tired just by the daily household chores and crave for an afternoon nap. If this is you then don’t avoid taking a nap as pushing your body function non-stop till midnight is not a healthy habit. Even a 30 minute afternoon nap can be extremely healthy and help in keeping you fresh throughout the day with a consistent amount of energy. Remember how our parents used to tell us to sleep after coming home from school during childhood days because even during daytime our body demands rest? Getting in a regular habit of taking afternoon naps can be quite beneficial for your mind and body. Let’s have a look at what are the top 10 benefits of an afternoon nap.
10. Restores alertness
Usually our mind is alert in first half of the day and as the day approaches to end most of us can barely keep our eyes open. Consequently the efficiency in work and alertness of our mind keeps decreasing throughout the day. But taking a nap in between can restore the alertness and make us as energetic during the second half of the day as we were in the first half. Studies have shown that a 40 minute nap can increase one’s alertness by 100%. Also an afternoon naps works better than a cup of caffeine or an exercise.
9. Increases productivity
Our productivity has a direct link with alertness and our energy level and it is a well appreciated fact that we lose our productivity from morning till night. A number of studies suggest that taking a nap in middle of the day boosts up productivity and performance at work just like it has been during the start of the day. In 2002 a Harvard University study validated how a 30 minute nap can be powerful enough to significantly increase the productivity of workers.
8. Heightens sensory perceptions
As a day wears off and our mind and body began to tire our senses also become less active. When we wake up from a night’s sleep the next morning our sensory perceptions are back to normal. But an amazing thing observed by napping scientists and researches is that even a nap can work as effectively as a night’s sleep in heightening our sensory perceptions. It actually means that after a nap you can smell better, hear better, see better or simply sense more powerfully.
7. Improves creativity
Too much of thought and putting stress over your brain cannot improve your creative skills but a quick afternoon nap can. A nap gives our mind some time to relax and loosen up. This gives space to new ideas and associations to form in our head. Also our discordant insights fuse together to give rise to new creative ideas and consequently our creativity is made profound. If you happen to be in a job where you constantly need your creativity to help you do your work then making regular naps habitual can work wonders.
6. Reduces risk of heart diseases and improves overall health
Did you know that an afternoon nap can work in some pretty amazing ways and can benefit your body and overall health in the longer run? When we are sleep deprived our body releases the stress hormone called cortisol. Where some level of Cortisol is required by us to deal with fight or flight situations, increased levels of this hormone can cause diabetes and heart diseases. The antidote of this hormone is also produced but our body but while we are asleep. Thus napping is good for our heart and not just heart but also to reduce the anxiety and stress. In fact 30 minutes of a nap 3 times a week can reduce the risk of death by a heart disease by 37%. Napping also has the ability to help the body cells repair themselves and also it improves our immune system.
5. Improves mood
You go to sleep for an hour in afternoon in a crummy mood and when you wake up your life doesn’t seem so bad at all. Napping not just works psychologically in improving our mood but there is more it. Sleep and mood are very closely related, where a sleep deprived situation makes us more prone to stress, a well slept body is more likely to be cheerful. Sleep or napping produces a neurotransmitter serotonin which regulates our mood, appetite and sleep, making us feel content. During stress our body uses high levels of serotonin without producing any further and we end up feeling anxious and depressed. A quick nap can reverse this action and improves our mood by producing enough of this neurotransmitter.
4. Improves learning and memory
You might be aware of the fact that sleep occurs in a number of stages. These are stage 1,2,3,4 and REM. Out of these, stage 3 and 4 are the ones in which a lot of tasks are going on in our brain. While we sleep during the afternoon for a nap our brain transfers recent memories to neocortex. Also the long term memories are solidified over here. So when you spend a couple of hours studying for a theory exam learning facts and dates a short nap afterwards can help in increasing the retaining power and will make sure that the information getting registered in your memory stays there for a long time and doesn’t slip by easily.
3. Prevents burnout
We work work work without taking enough rest but eventually we reach a saturation point resulting in a burnout where not just our body but also our brain can’t take anymore. Here a quick nap helps in relaxing our mind for a while so we can start fresh after waking up. When we keep feeding our brain with too much information it certainly gets overloaded at some point and a nap helps in reversing this information overload and prevent burnouts.
2. Better than caffeine
Most of us depend upon our daily dose of caffeine to make through the day or stay awake whole night when our work demands. Although caffeine can be very beneficial in keeping our mind alert and avoid us from dozing off but it also decreases our memory thus making us more prone to making mistakes. While a quick power nap doesn’t have this side effect and is instead beneficial for our memory too.
1. It’s amazing
Come on! Isn’t sleep one the simplest pleasures of life? I know we have all had our share of problems with sleeping during childhood but now, at least I can’t wait to hit the bed after a tiring day at college. Moreover if I don’t take a nap I’m anyways virtually sleeping the entire evening. Naps give our mind and body the time to relax and heel. They refresh them completely and make us feel rejuvenated after a nap. Maybe that’s why these are called power naps but they can instantly boost your power like no energy drink can.