Should You? Or Shouldn’t You?
To Nap or Not to Nap – That is the Question
When it comes to napping the verdict is split, some people swear by them and use them as a daily ritual for their health and well-being, whilst others have only negative thoughts, thinking they are for the lazy, the weak or even the unambitious. In some cultures the daily nap is as normal as sleep itself, for others it is scorned and looked down upon.
The Benefits of Napping
Naps can be a boost for our brains, improving everything from creativity and memory to perceptual learning and logical reasoning. Naps are also responsible for improved reaction times and improved mood. If that isn’t enough napping is good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels and even weight management.
Naps Vs Coffee
Caffeine can decrease memory performance whereas naps can actually increase it. After your coffee you may actually feel more wired and as a result be more prone to making mistakes. In many respects coffee is like a band aid, it provides only superficial relief from feelings of tiredness and lethargy. Naps on the other hand cut deep and provide the stitches that the body needs to actually heal the wound that is sleep deprivation.
Naps and Science
A study completed by NASA on their pilots in the 80’s and 90’s found that a 40-minute nap improved a pilot’s performance by 34% and physiological alertness by an astounding 100%. A Greek study illustrated that those who napped for 30 minutes a day 3 times a week were 37% less likely to die from heart-related diseases.
The length of your nap and the type of sleep you get help determine the benefits. A 20-minute power nap is good for alertness and motor learning skills whilst napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes is good for decision-making skills. Napping for longer times like 60 to 90 minutes helps solve creative problems.
The best napping time falls in the middle of the day, between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Napping after 4 PM can make it much more difficult to fall asleep at your usual time at night. Try setting an alarm clock and assess what napping times work for you as you don’t want to wake up groggy. Keep the room dark or wear an eye mask as this will help you fall asleep faster and make the most of your short nap time frame.
Napping and Business
The stigma against napping is finally starting to wane and this is due to a variety of big businesses that are integrating naps into their workers regular routines. Modern firms are increasingly creating innovative sleep spaces, leaders like Google, Huffington Post and professional sporting teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team are providing and encouraging supportive napping environments. Taking the time to nap during the day does much more than just give us a quick energy boost; it results in some serious cognitive and health advantages as well.
To Nap or Not to Nap – That is still the Question
(Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk)