As a kid, being told to take a nap felt like a punishment. You’d have to leave your toys and put away your games to sleep. However, as an adult, you look back to childhood and wish you could have daily naps again. You probably regret ever complaining about being “forced” to nap and whenever possible, you try to squeeze in a quick snooze.
While the idea of a daily siesta is appealing, are naps good for you? Let’s look at some of the benefits of naps so you can understand how they can be good for your health.
Why naps are good for you
Naps are essential for babies and children, but are naps good for adults, too? Plenty of research has been conducted around the benefits of sleep, and generally speaking, short naps can have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. Here are six ways that naps can help.
1. Boost your mood
Whether you’re having a one-off bad day or feel like you’ve been in a sour mood for weeks, napping can help. Short naps or periods of rest in the day can help course-correct and improve your mood.
By dedicating time in your day to stop, unplug and relax, you’ll give your brain a much needed mental rest. Set time aside each day to nap, meditate and be still and you’ll likely find your mood improving.
2. Increase productivity and creativity
It may seem counterproductive to take a time out when you’re super busy, however, taking a break to nap can actually help increase your productivity and output. Short naps help you reset. You’ll come back to the tasks at hand rested and focused, which leads to better work. And, if you’re feeling like you’re in a creative slump, short naps can help you get back on track and into a creative space again!
3. Improve your memory
Getting a good night’s rest (or lack thereof) has repercussions on your health. We all know we need to sleep at night, but the same logic can be applied to napping. A medical study suggests that napping can improve your memory by fivefold.
Napping in the afternoon can help you retain information better, remember things more easily and overall, improve your memory. With how chaotic life can be, who couldn’t use a better memory?
4. Reduce stress
Stress is something that we all deal with. However, some people have more stress, more frequently than others. Want to reduce your stress? Nap. Napping can reduce your cortisol levels, which in turn, reduces stress.
5. Help the heart
Studies have found that people who nap frequently have lower blood pressure, which is better for your heart. Because heart problems are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., we could all benefit from something that helps improve our chances of a healthier heart. A few naps a week can do just that.
6. Help you sleep better
Napping too long can be counterproductive, but a well-timed nap may help you sleep better at night. Because it’s essential to get the right amount of sleep at night, a little day-time nap may be just the ticket you’re looking for.
How to nap properly
Napping for hours at a time isn’t beneficial. You’ll become groggy and lose valuable time in the day. But a short nap is beneficial for your health. Here are three things to keep in mind when it comes to napping properly:
- Keep naps between 10 and 30 minutes long
- Nap between 1 and 3 p.m.
- Nap in a relaxing, distraction-free environment
Enjoy naps and improve your health
American culture often emphasizes being busy and productive. And while that’s great, it’s important to take time to slow down, rest the body and re-energize. Napping can help you do all these things and is good for your overall health.
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