April 17, 2015
“When all else fails, take a nap”
We look at napping negatively, especially at work. It is often considered as a waste of time and a form of laziness. But there are times when it’s really hard not to nap, even for just 15 minutes on soft foam during the afternoon! Question is, why? Aside from a quick trip to dreamland, and here are the reasons to take a nap:
According to Sara Mednick, PhD, a sleep expert and author of the book “Take a Nap! Change Your Life”, each nap durations has its own positive effect to an individual’s cognitive processes. She claims that having a 20 minute nap helps in resetting our bodies so we can get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. 20 minute naps are actually advantageous to their work productivity.
Slow-wave sleeps, naps for about 30 to 60 minutes, enhance decision making skills and memorizing vocabulary and recalling directions. Longer naps, especially rapid eye movement sleeps that extend to 60 to 90 minutes, play an essential role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.
Studies have been done regarding the effectivity of either caffeine consumption or napping with work productivity. Studies showed that naps produced more favorable results than drinking coffee. Naps help in improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning. Naps, especially those done in the afternoon, improve free recall memory.
The only benefit of a mug of delicious and slightly bitter and slightly sweet brewed coffee as compared to napping is that it gives more energy. Unfortunately, studies show that caffeine can impair motor sequence learning and declarative verbal memory therefore you are more prone to making a lot of mistakes.
Naps are helpful in reducing stress – something that positively affects our bodies’ overall health. Specifically, napping help in managing blood pressure by accelerating cardiovascular recovery after series of psychological stress According to researchers, 45 minute naps can literally lower blood pressure.
There are also other benefits of napping, as concluded by an extensive 2007 study. A research was done for over six years in Greece, and it was observed that none of them suffered from coronary heart disease, stroke, or cancer. According to the research, people who napped for at least three times per week for an average of 30 minutes a day had 37% lower chances of dying from a heart-related disease.
Napping is never a waste of time, as proven by various scientific studies. Not only is it good to improve various cognitive functions but also in overall health. Just like what Ben Stein said, “Sleep more at night. If it’s allowed at work or home, take a nap in the afternoon. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.”