Do you take naps often? If you do, some people might call you lazy when it’s really not like that. Don’t worry, though – science has your back now. Many leading experts on sleep say that daytime naps (if kept under control) offer a variety of health benefits we couldn’t even imagine.
Modern Society is Severely Sleep Deprived
It’s no secret that modern society is sleep deprived. We work almost all day long and always rush to get somewhere, not having enough time to sleep. As we’re not getting much sleep, we can replace the lost time with daytime naps. Studies say that power naps can improve the function of our brain, sharpen our memory, improve our problem-solving skills, and other mental functions. Additionally, naps have been found to improve logical reasoning and mood while also eliminating fatigue, both mental and physical.
The National Sleep Foundation says that the so-called planned napping, or taking a nap before becoming sleepy, is highly effective for the treatment of fatigue. Another form of a power nap, emergency napping, occurs when a person can’t continue with whatever they’re doing at the moment. This type of nap can help in the case when you need to hit the road and prevent drowsy driving which can be quite dangerous.
Habitual naps are power naps taken at the same time every day. They’re more common in children, but adults love them as well. These naps might prevent cardiovascular problems. A recent Greek study found out that people who take 3 daytime naps per week at the same time can lower the risk of heart disease by a whopping 37%. That’s nearly 40% and definitely worth giving a try.
Daytime Naps Are a Custom Around the World
Taking a daytime nap after lunch is pretty common around the world. As a matter of fact, it’s a custom in many countries. Interestingly enough, all these countries have far lower heart disease-related deaths than the rest of the world. The USA and UK, where heart attacks are at the top of the “killer” chain, don’t advocate daytime naps. Maybe the link between power naps and heart disease are really true.
According to experts, daytime naps can improve our health on many levels. They can prevent heart disease, sharpen our minds, and even eliminate stress. These naps have amazing psychological benefits, which is why we need to take them more often.
What Does Science Say About Daytime Naps?
In 1995, NASA released the results of a groundbreaking study which showed how daytime naps help their pilots. All of NASA’s pilots are allowed 40-minute daytime naps which dramatically improved their reaction time in certain tests. According to a study conducted in 2008, daytime naps may even have effects better than caffeine when it comes to verbal memory, perceptual learning, and even motor skills. Shorts naps seem to have a slew of benefits for our mental and physical health. However, only if you nap under control.
Power naps are considered naps between 20 and 90 minutes – different duration of naps seem to offer different benefits. For example, 20-minute daytime naps are great for our motor learning skills, memory, and alertness. Naps that last up to 30 minutes can improve our memory and creativity. Those that last between 30 and 60 minutes improve our decision-making skills.
The longest naps you can take last for 90 minutes and actively reset the brain. During this time, the brain enters REM sleep which has a dramatic effect on our problem-solving skills and refreshes the brain.
So, the next time you take a nap during the day and someone calls you lazy, tell them all of this. Daytime naps have far more benefits than what anybody thinks, and it’s time we got a hold of them.