No matter how much you sleep at night, there comes a time during the day when you just feel too exhausted to continue. The norms of modern living teach us that we should just push through the worst and go on with our day. But that might not be the best thing to do. That said, getting in a good napping session may help.
The majority of the most successful people in the world regularly take naps during the day. That should tell us that accepting that you’re tired and taking a break is not a bad thing at all.
Napping has numerous scientifically proven health benefits. It not only helps us push through the day but it also improves the quality of our lives. Let’s learn about some of the most positive health effects you can expect if you start catching a wink from time to time.
1. Naps Improve the Mood
Have you ever had to deal with a person who is grumpy because of a lack of sleep? Perhaps with a toddler who skipped their nap time? I have, and would not like to have to do that again. According to science, it’s completely normal to feel that way if you didn’t get enough sleep.
Namely, when our body is deprived of sleep, it creates a hormonal disbalance which makes us irritable and puts us in a bad mood. However, there’s no reason to put yourself in that state and put others in a bad spot as well.
Simply taking a 20-30-minute nap, according to Harvard researchers, can significantly improve your mood. It will restore the hormonal balance that you lost and make you happier as well!
2. Napping Boosts Learning Skills
Are you trying to pick up a new skill but you’re struggling to learn the ropes? A good nap might be all that you need. When deprived of quality sleep or just too tired, our brain’s ability to learn new stuff is significantly lowered. According to scientists, just a short nap can give us a learning boost.
A study from 2006 separated its participants into two groups. Those in the first group napped rarely, whereas those in the second group were frequent nappers. They were then given a passage to read in a book, and their retention skills were tested. As you can guess, those who were frequent nappers did much better in the test. This proves that a quick nap could put us one step closer to being a genius.
3. Taking a Nap Is Good for Memory
A good night’s sleep is absolutely essential for a good memory. When we sleep, our brain processes the information we learned during the day and creates neural connections, which help us access that information in the future. If you sleep poorly, the neural connections will be weak or not be there at all.
However, daytime naps can have pretty much the same effect as a long night of sleep. In order to achieve the best memory boost, you should take a daytime nap of around 90 minutes. However, even if you catnap for just a short time, you will still see a lot of benefits.
If you’re a student, this technique could be a lifesaver! It could mean the difference between flunking or passing an exam.
4. Physical Stamina Is Improved by Napping
We all know that feeling of fatigue and lack of motivation just before we need to head to the gym for our daily workout session. Sometimes, just hitting the gym and starting to exercise will boost your energy. However, sometimes, the energy will just not be there, and you’ll feel drained before you even begin.
If you hate that feeling, a short snooze might be the solution. Napping is proven to help with motor fatigue, which happens from overuse. It can also improve our speed and accuracy, which is especially important for some types of sport. According to one study, sprint times were improved by taking a nap.
If you want an extra boost, combining a cup of coffee with a 15-20 minute nap is the right way to go. Coffee takes around that time to kick in, so by the time you wake up, you will be ready to fly.
5. Naps Help with Daytime Alertness
Have you ever wondered how surgeons manage to work 15-hour shifts from time to time, without making any mistakes? The secret is in napping. Taking a nap will improve your performance and mental alertness, so it’s perfect when you feel that you’re losing focus during the day.
The best thing about this benefit of napping is that it is more easily achieved with short naps. A 10-minute siesta is all you need for your brain to light up. That makes it perfect for those who have tight work schedules. You can simply disappear for 10 minutes in a conference room that is not being used and come out ready to get the job done.
6. Naps Improve Night-Time Alertness
Sleeping during your night shift is most often frowned upon by managers. However, it’s completely normal to struggle with staying awake when working at night. Some companies allow their night owls to take a short snooze, which significantly improves their focus and productivity. It’s a win-win solution.
However, taking a nap before going to work can help you achieve the same results as well. Studies have shown that sleeping between 30 minutes and four hours before starting your night shift can significantly help you with pushing through the night.
These naps are also important if you plan to drive during the night, either to work or for other reasons. You’ll have better judgment abilities, which is incredibly important in traffic.
7. Napping Boosts the Immune System
Our immune system is incredibly important for our general wellbeing, but it is also incredibly fragile. Chronic lack of sleep can significantly decrease its ability to fight infections and keep us healthy.
Lack of sleep increases the number of cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules, and also raises the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Studies show that a 30-minute nap during the day is able to decrease both the levels of cytokines and cortisol, strengthening our immune system and giving it a better chance to win future battles with pathogens.
So if you catch colds or get the flu frequently, perhaps it’s time to start taking a nap from time to time.
8. You Become Alert and Focused After a Nap
Napping is often unrightfully associated with laziness. However, quite the opposite, nodding off can help us be more productive and finish more work in less time. Did you know that some of the biggest geniuses that ever lived on this planet were regular nappers? Apart from their genius, these naps allowed them to use their maximum potential.
Sleeping for a short while when you feel overpowered by exhaustion can help regenerate your body and mind. If you need to be alert and focused, the worst thing you can do is fight the urge to sleep. Your concentration will continue to decrease, which can even put you in danger, depending on what you’re doing.
9. Your Heart Will Thank You As Well
We’ve already asserted that napping is great for your brain. However, your heart loves when you take a good nap as well. If you’re worried about your heart’s health and you want to help it perform well for a long time, you should become a daytime napper.
When you go to sleep, your heart needs to work less to keep things working well. That takes a lot of stress off of it and boosts its power. That’s why in the world of cardiology, naps are often referred to as ‘cardiovascular holidays.’
A study conducted in Greece concluded that those who take regular daily naps have a 37% lower chance of suffering a heart attack.
10. Naps Reduce Stress
As we have already briefly mentioned, the less you sleep, the higher your levels of cortisol are. Cortisol is the so-called stress hormone, which can be both good and bad for us. In low doses, it helps us wake up in the morning and be more alert. However, in higher amounts, it causes us to be perpetually stressed, sometimes for no good reason.
Cortisol is also directly linked to blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, having high levels of cortisol for a prolonged time may lead to high blood pressure and irregular heart rate.
Taking just a short nap can significantly diminish these negative effects. It lowers cortisol levels, helps us relax, and also lowers our blood pressure and heart rate.
11. Weight Loss Is Easier with Naps
There are several things that our body craves when it starts feeling sleepy. The most common ones are a nap, a cup of coffee, and sugar! If you often crave sugar during the day and feel fatigued if you do not reach for a chocolate bar, science says that you should instead reach for a pillow.
A lot of people eat sweets and junk food because they do not sleep enough. If you’re trying to lose weight or stop gaining weight, you should definitely incorporate some daily naps into your weightloss routine. If you feel the need to open your fridge and reach for a piece of cake, doze off for 20 to 30 minutes and your cravings will most likely be gone!
12. Napping Makes You More Beautiful
Have you ever heard of the term ‘beauty sleep?’ We promise that it’s not made up; it’s completely real. Studies show that people who sleep less have more wrinkles, blemishes, fine lines, and uneven skin tone. Not getting enough rest could also give you loose skin!
If you take regular short naps throughout the day, your skin will thank you. When you sleep, your whole body works hard to repair itself. Your skin is no exception. Even when you nap for 20 to 30 minutes, your skin’s ability to produce new skin cells increases.
Thus, if you want to stay younger for longer and retain your beauty, you should kick back and get some beauty sleep in.
13. Naps Give You a Surge of Creativity
Being creative is not something you can do on-demand. However, you can increase your chances of having a surge of creativity by not depriving your body of sleep. Naps are a proven way of enhancing creativity, according to a recent study.
If you are a painter, writer, or any other kind of artist and you’re struggling with finding inspiration for your new project, it’s better to take a rest than trying to push your luck.
Creativity is about getting new ideas in. However, it’s hard to do that if your mind is already cluttered with unnecessary information and processes. Taking a nap literally reboots your brain, increasing your chances of coming up with a new and brilliant idea.
14. You’ll Postpone Dementia by Napping
Napping is incredibly beneficial both for young and old people. By napping, children develop their brains and intelligence, whereas older people protect the same things.
Unfortunately, as we age, we are at an increased risk of suffering from dementia. Our memory might become worse, and our concentration and learning skills diminish as well.
If you nap regularly during the day, you significantly lower the chances of that happening. Your brain will remain sharp for a long time, and you’ll be able to remember all of the memorable moments from your youth even when you’re old and wrinkled.
15. It Only Takes a Couple of Minutes
Finally, napping only takes a couple of minutes of your time! Imagine how much time you waste during the day that could have been used in a better way. One of these is definitely taking a nap.
Even though many think that the time spent napping is lost time that can never be retrieved, we strongly disagree. You should consider it an investment that will help you be more productive later on and do more than you have planned to.