Studies Agree: No Need To Feel Guilty For Napping!
Written by: Brandi Monasco
I remember coming home from school every day and my mom making me take a nap before doing homework. I hated naps! But, in all honesty, I think my mom was on to something.
Now that I’m older, I always look forward to an afternoon nap, usually because I wake up feeling recharged and ready to get on with the rest of whatever work I have left to do for the day.
Brief and regular napping can be good for you in a variety of ways. Any time that you can rest and “recharge your battery” is beneficial for both your body and your mind.
There Are 3 Types Of Napping
1. Habitual Napping. This is when a person takes a nap at the same time every day, such as when a child gets home from school, or when you get home from work.
2. Planned Napping. This is taking a nap before you actually get sleepy. Many people use this technique when they know that they will be staying up later than normal, so they nap to ward off being tired earlier.
3. Emergency Napping. This is when you suddenly become tired and cannot continue with your daily activities without crashing for a bit.
The Benefits Of Napping
- Napping Increases Creativity. Have you ever woken up and realized that you found the solution to a problem you were facing? Whenever I feel stuck on a design or can’t figure out what to write about, sometimes taking a nap fixes that problem. A study has shown that when you take a nap, your brain’s right hemisphere (which is responsible for creativity) does some “housecleaning” and consolidates and stores memory, kind of like your computer. “So while the left side of your brain takes some time off to relax, the right side is clearing out your temporary storage areas, pushing information into long-term storage and solidifying your memories from the day.”
- It Boosts Alertness. NASA conducted a study on their pilots and astronauts and compared pilots who took a nap for 40 minutes to pilots who did not nap. The study found that after even just 20 minutes of rest, the pilots had higher measures of alertness.
- It Improves Learning And Memory. The deeper rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been linked to the cognitive benefits of napping. If you take 60 to 90 minutes to nap, you can often wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. If you take a nap that is longer than 90 minutes, you risk the chance of waking up groggy, though being able to nap longer is still beneficial to your brain regardless.
- It Increases Productivity. Napping improves your work output. Sometimes a short power nap can be what you need to feel more alert and less sleep deprived.
- It Can Lift Your Spirits. Sometimes in the afternoon, especially if I didn’t sleep well the night before, I start to become cranky, just like a toddler! Take a quick nap in the afternoon, or whenever you start feeling cranky and see how much better you feel afterward!
Best Ways To Take A Good Nap
- Keep Your Naps Short. Remember, if you sleep for more than 90 minutes, you risk the chance of waking up feeling groggy.
- Take Naps In The Afternoon. Usually, after lunch is when you start to feel sleepy and you have a lower level of alertness. Be sure not to take naps too late, preferably not after 3pm, so that it does not interfere with your nighttime sleeping schedule.
- Create A Comfortable Environment. Make sure that you nap in a quiet, dark place and that the room is at a comfortable temperature.
The next time you feel guilty about taking some time for yourself and taking a little nap, remember all of the benefits taking a nap has to offer your body and your brain. You will feel so much better and will be way more productive after your little snooze!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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