Let's start with a simple question: When was the last time you took a nap? Yesterday, last week, last month, or maybe you don't even remember when. Many people perceive napping as a lazy activity and a waste of time. They are too occupied with family, work, and social obligations to take naps.
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However, napping is a healthy activity and people are gradually realizing the numerous benefits of napping—including recharging your energy, increasing alertness, and improving mood. More so, research shows that a third of Americans nap on any given day.
This article assesses five research-backed health benefits of napping so that you devote more time to it.
1. Napping increases alertness
Napping increases alertness and can be significantly more effective than caffeine in beating amid-afternoon lull.
Alertness helps to reduce mistakes and accidents. Plus, after a nap, you perform better in your tasks. Some employers have even adopted napping policies to help employees improve job performance.
2. Taking naps prevents health problems
It's no secret; Americans are a sleep-deprived nation. The CDC reports that 35% of American adults are sleep deprived, i.e. do not get enough sleep (7 hours daily). Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has many adverse effects. It causes accidents, impairs cognitive processes, kills sex drive, ages your skin, and increases weight.
Furthermore, lack of sleep increases your vulnerability to serious health problems such as heart disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Also, lack of sleep is expensive, costing the US approximately $411 billion every year.
When you nap, your body gets a chance to heal by allowing the release of growth hormones that aid in numerous body functions. Hence, you also prevent the health problems associated with a lack of sleep.
3. Naps improve cognitive function
Napping improves your cognitive performance and reduces sleepiness. Not only does this enhance your learning ability, but also memory, attention, alertness, reasoning, concentration, and it boosts problem-solving.
A recent study by researchers at the Saarland University in Germany revealed that a short nap could boost brainpower. When you sleep for around 45-60 minutes, you could improve your learning and memory fivefold. Another research revealed that a daytime nap could improve long-term memory compared to cramming.
4. Nap to reduce stress levels
Most people's contemporary life is riddled with many stressors. From work to family and social commitments, it's almost impossible to stay stress-free. Naps can help you reduce stress levels and maintain mental health.
Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that a 30-minute nap can help to regulate hormones associated with stress. Napping improves your immune system while reducing cortisol (a stress hormone). It can also help people who are sleep-deprived to manage stress.
5. Taking naps can increase creativity
A 2012 study led by Andrei Medvedev discovered that naps increase creativity. The study found that the right side of the brain that is responsible for creativity and imagination has an increase in activity during naps. Consequently, your creativity increases substantially.
Another research published on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that napping for at least one hour enhances creative problem-solving. What's more, napping helps to clear old thoughts and navigate through them with ease. This way, you have mental clarity and stamina to create new ideas.
Are you feeling unbearably fatigued? Forget the coffee or the energy drink. Consider taking a quick nap. You will wake up refreshed and recharged. Napping has many health benefits, including reducing stress, improving cognitive function, and increasing alertness. In short, napping helps you stay healthy.
Regardless, napping should not replace quality night sleep. At Land of sleep, we can help you get quality sleep by choosing a perfect mattress for you. Contact us today, and you'll rediscover quality sleep.