Why afternoon nap is good for you?

Why afternoon nap is good for you?

Afternoon nap or sleeping for a short time is good for various reasons. Did you know that more than 85% of mammalian species are polyphasic sleepers, meaning that they sleep for short periods throughout the day. Not a longer nap but a little nap up to half an hour in the afternoon – after lunch helps in boosting your health.

Nappers are in good company: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and George W. Bush are known to have valued an afternoon nap.

Types of naps!

Naps can be typed in three different ways:

  1. Planned napping (also called preparatory napping) involves taking a nap before you actually get sleepy. You may use this technique when you know that you will be up later than your normal bed time or as a mechanism to ward off getting tired earlier.
  2. Emergency napping occurs when you are suddenly very tired and cannot continue with the activity you were originally engaged in. This type of nap can be used to combat drowsy driving or fatigue while using heavy and dangerous machinery.
  3. Habitual napping is practiced when a person takes a nap at the same time each day. Young children may fall asleep at about the same time each afternoon or an adult might take a short nap after lunch each day.

There are several benefits of taking a nap in the afternoon. People who are able to take a nap in the afternoon should not miss the opportunity for the following reasons.

  • Afternoon nap helps in reducing stress hormone level and helps in gaining body strength. It reduces lethargy and helps in increasing the productivity level.
  • A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness.
  • It increases concentration and keeps mind in active condition. Little sleeps helps in boosting the memory!  When the mind is active, person feels a task is easy to handle rather than hard.
  • Studies show that by sleeping 10 to 20 minutes in the afternoon conditions related to heart reduce by 40%. It reduces coronary mortality.
  • Creativity level increase!! Little nap for an hour or so enhances creative thinking, boost cognitive processing, improve memory recall and generally clear out the cobwebs of mind.
  • By sleeping for few minutes in the afternoon, body muscle stress goes down and exercising becomes easy afterwards.
  • Nap after lunchtime helps the nerves to calm down. Studies also show that, people who sleep in the afternoon feel more relaxed, happy and less anxiety level in the system.
  • According to Psychology today, will power is often highest in the morning because the brain is refreshed by sleep. And, sneaking a mid-day “power nap” into your schedule can reverse the usual willpower drain from morning to night.
  • Scheduled napping has also been prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy (Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations)

 Tips to nap:

  • Your sleep environment can greatly influence on your ability to fall asleep. Make sure that you have a restful place to lie down and that he temperature in the room is comfortable.
  • Try to limit the amount of noise heard and the extent of the light filtering in. While some studies have shown that just spending time in bed can be beneficial, it is better to try to catch some sleep.
  • If you take a nap too late in the day, it might affect your nighttime sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep at your regular bedtime. If you try to take it too early in the day, your body may not be ready for more sleep.

 What happens if your nap time exceeds too much?

Naps can leave people with sleep inertia, especially when they last more than 10-20 minutes. Sleep inertia is defined as the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come with awakening from a deep sleep. A long nap or a nap taken too late in the day may adversely affect the length and quality of nighttime sleep. If you have trouble sleeping at night, a nap will only amplify problems.

Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation. Keep in mind that getting enough sleep on regular basis is the best way to stay alert and feel your best. But when fatigue sets in, a quick nap can do wonders for your mental and physical stamina.

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References:

  • https://sleepfoundation.org/
  • http://www.treehugger.com
  • http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/07-08/naps.aspx

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