Apparently, naps are much more beneficial than we thought, as they offer numerous cognitive and health benefits.
People sleep once daily, unlike 85% of all mammalian species, and even though scientists cannot confirm that it is a mistake, it is a fact that at least a third of us claim that they lack seep.
Power naps can alleviate the deficit of sleep, but they can also boost our brain, and improve our problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, verbal memory, reaction time, perceptual learning, object learning, statistical learning, and symbol recognition. Naps have a beneficial effect on stress, blood pressure, heart health, mood, and body weight.
Yet, read on, and you will definitely take a nap more often! Sara Mednick, a co-author of the study and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, says:
“Naps had the same magnitude of benefits as full nights of sleep if they had a specific quality of nap.”
Napping has been linked to improved heart health, and all countries that have the custom to take a nap after lunch have a very low rate of fatal heart attacks. Moreover, studies have shown that napping reduces stress, boosts alertness, cognitive performance, memory, and relaxes the body and mind.
The findings of a 1995 NASA study showed that pilots who took a nap for 40 minutes during the day, “demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the No-Rest Group.”
Also, a 2008 study showed that naps are much better than a cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon, as they improve motor skills, verbal memory, and perceptual learning.
When it comes to the length of naps, even a 20-minute nap is beneficial, and these power naps drastically boost your energy levels.
According to Professor Leon Lack from Flinders University:
“Ten to 15 minutes of sleep seems to be the optimum period in terms of improving mental operations, performance, reaction times and subjective feelings of alertness. And that improvement in performance and alertness seems to be maintained for up to two and sometimes three hours after the nap. “
However, here are the effects of naps in terms of the different length:
20 Minute Nap – These short naps improve memory, mental alertness, and motor learning skills.
20 To 30 Minute Nap – It boosts memory and creativity.
30 To 60 Minute Nap – It enhances the decision-making skills and improves the part of your memory responsible for memorizing things like the alphabet; directions and etc.
60 To 90 Minute Nap – It is the most beneficial nap, which ensures a REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, in which the brain resets itself. Prof.Mednick says: “The 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity and emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia.”
However, you should always learn to listen to the signals of your own body. If you cannot sleep at night just because you have taken a nap that afternoon, then, it would be best not to make a habit out of it. Also, some people feel dazed in the morning if they have had a nap the previous day, so if you are one of them, napping is not a good idea for you too.
Now, instead of a conclusion, let’s remember Pete Hamill’s words,
“The replenishing thing that comes with a nap — you end up with two mornings in a day.”