As we become busier in our lives and fill up every moment with activity, the quality and quantity of sleep lessens, resulting in a chronic state of sleep deprivation. While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance. Instead of drinking a cup of coffee in the middle of the day, consider the sensible alternative, the power-nap. The benefits include:
1. Sharpens Cognitive Functions – When you don’t get enough sleep at night, the first thing that is noticed is brain fogginess and a lack of concentration. Taking a nap has been shown to boost mental performance for up to 24 hours afterwards.
2- Improves Heart Health – A study at Harvard (https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/napping-may-not-be-such-a-no-no) showed that people who nap regularly are less likely to have heart health issues later in life. A regular nap is defined as at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes.
3- Reduces Stress and Anxiety – Being tired causes stress, which makes you even more tired. A study in 2012 showed that three stress hormones spiked when their participants didn’t nap, causing more health-damaging stress.
4-Fights Food Cravings – When you’re tired and craving energy, it makes sense that you’d want something to eat, especially foods and drinks high in sugar and caffeine. A nap eliminates the desire to flood your body with stimulants and provides grounded, focus energy.
5-Improves Physical Performance – Napping seems like the opposite of working out, but in fact, a study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17852691?&utm_source=huffingtonpost.com) has shown that athletes who take short naps perform better on the field, improving their motor reaction skills and speed.