Modern and busy lifestyles have made us chronically sleep-deprived, and power naps have thus become highly helpful and beneficial.
Napping boosts the function of the brain, improves mood, treats fatigue, and improves our problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual learning, object learning, and statistical learning skills.
Additionally, naps lower stress, help weight loss, improve heart health, and lower blood pressure.
The National Sleep Foundation divides naps into three different categories:
— Habitual napping is a routine of napping at the same time, every single day, like young children in the afternoon or adults after lunch.
— Planned napping (also known as preparatory napping) is a way to prevent fatigue and tiredness and involves taking a nap before one actually gets sleepy.
— Emergency napping treats fatigue and drowsiness and occurs when one suddenly feels very tired and cannot continue doing the activity he was engaged in at that time.
Greek researchers found that adult men who napped 3 times a week had a 37% lower risk of death due to heart-related illness compared to others who didn’t nap.
This might explain the high rates of heart attacks in the USA and UK, where people are not very supportive of napping. On the other hand, napping is a part of the culture in many countries, such as the siesta in Spain.
Vincent Walsh, professor of human brain research at University College London, explains that the industrial revolution is the only reason why we have become obsessed with squeezing all our sleep into the night rather than having one or two sleeps through the day.
Many people enjoy the rebooting capacity of naps, and the Japanese even have a word for strategically sleeping on the job: “inemuri,” which could be roughly translated to “sleeping while present.”
Moreover, Sir Winston Churchill slept only four hours at night during World War Two, but he insisted on napping for two hours in the afternoon.
Albert Einstein was also prone to taking daytime naps.
Pete Hamill once said that the best thing about naps is that you end up with two mornings in a day.
Napping has also been found to offer physiological benefits, boosting rejuvenation. A 1995 NASA study has confirmed that 40-minute naps led to vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses in pilots.
Here are some of the benefits of napping:
20 Minute Nap – It boosts memory, mental alertness, and motor learning skills
20 To 30 Minute Nap – It improves creativity
30 To 60 Minute Nap – It improves decision-making skills
60 To 90 Minute Nap – It is the most beneficial nap, as it ensures REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, resets the brain, and dramatically improves problem-solving skills.
Therefore, feel free to enjoy a short nap every day!