Do you take a nap mid-day or after lunch to recharge your energy levels? In many European countries, mid-day naps are part of the culture. These naps re-energize us and help us stay focused, with even scientists recommending them. According to recent studies, naps can improve our memory and brain performance while also improving our mood.
Snoozing at work is not seen in a positive light, especially in America. However, many big companies such as Google know the benefits of a short mid-day nap and even encourage their employees to take them. After a short nap, we’re more productive and sharper, not to mention well-rested and ready for the rest of the work hours.
The benefits of naps start early in our lives. For babies, frequent naps are necessary for development and growth. The elderly can’t function without a few naps during the day, so why do adults skip them? It’s all because of the social stigma that napping during the day is being lazy, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Health Benefits of Napping
In 2009, a study that took a look at the benefits of napping revealed that napping can improve our ability to learn and memory as well. The study discovered that once we make it into a habit, napping can be extremely beneficial and productive for our health. Don’t worry about “sleep inertia”, or the groggy period after waking up. After naps, it is far less intense and lasts for a shorter time. Of course, we’re talking about naps here, not a full night of sleep.
After examining the effects of short naps on our health, it was determined that even naps as short as 10 minutes have great benefits for our health, even greater than 30-60-minute naps. All naps longer than 10 minutes make it harder for you to wake up and have fewer benefits. In one study, short 5-15-minute naps were found to improve cognitive performance, while naps that last for 30 minutes improve it even further. The effect of 30-minute naps lasts for longer, but it also comes with sleep inertia (grogginess).
How Much and How Long Should We Nap?
A 90-minute mid-day nap can eliminate sleep inertia and even compensate for inadequate sleep overnight. However, you’ll get the best benefits if you consistently nap at the same time and for the same duration. Scientists recommend keeping it short.
Fifteen-minute naps are just enough to re-energize your body and mind and keep you sharp. If you’re tired every day in the afternoon, these quick naps are everything you need. Instead of chugging down another cup of coffee in the afternoon, a short nap works even better.
Of course, naps aren’t a substitute for night-time sleep. Proper sleep overnight is vital for our health as the body needs the time to repair itself. A combination of proper sleep overnight and a short nap in the early afternoon will improve your health on many levels which is why you should give it a try.