A nap is a session of sleeping that lasts a few minutes. It is mostly associated with children in pre-school. Our pets at home also seem to enjoy taking naps a number of times during the day. Initially frowned upon and regarded as a symbol of laziness, a nap is actually very important for self-improvement. It also increases our health and boosts our level of intelligence too. Taking a nap during the day also boosts your productivity. Great men and women in history were ardent nappers. Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, J.F. Kennedy and Thomas Edison all took naps during their day.
Naps increase your memory
A study was conducted where the participants were required to take naps of between 10 and 30 minutes every day. Their mental performance would be tested two and a half hours after they woke up from their nap. The results were astonishing. The participants who napped for 30 minutes experienced grogginess. On the other hand, those who napped for 10 minutes indicated sharper, better mental performance. This means that taking a power nap will boost your memory and mental acuity.
Napping can reduce your blood pressure
People who take naps during the day develop lower blood pressure and therefore are at a lower risk of heart problems. The Journal of Applied Physiology discovered that the habit of taking a nap reduced one's chances of coronary mortality by 37%. This can be a life saving benefit of taking a power nap during your day.
Naps can calm your nerves
A study conducted at the University of Berkeley showed that taking a nap for 90 minutes after lunch can calm your nerves significantly. In the study, the participants were made to look at some faces that expressed fear, anger and joy at noon. After that, some of them were allowed to take a nap while others were not. At 6:00pm, they were shown the pictures again. The participants who did not take a nap were much more upset while those who took it were calm throughout. Do you want to be calmer? take a nap.
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A nap boosts your creativity
Naps are superb for the brain. Sleeping during the day for 20 or 30 minutes can dramatically increase your creative thinking. It can also boost your ability to think cognitively, boost recall and clear out the mind. This is according to a study conducted by Rebecca Robbins and James Maas for their book, Sleep for Success. Next time you feel as though your creative juices are dwindling, take a power nap.
Napping prevents you from experiencing a burnout due to too much work
When you work hard and put in many extra hours without resting, your levels of productivity actually reduce. A study was conducted to prove this. The participants in the task were given a visual task to be completed over the course of 4 days. The task was divided into sessions. Over the course of the first and second sessions of the task, the performance of the subjects gradually reduced. However, they were allowed to take a nap for 30 minutes after the second session. Once they came back refreshed, their performance improved sharply. Napping relaxes your mind and recharges your batteries for the next phase of your day.
Taking a nap improves your general health
When you get too little sleep, the levels of a stress hormone known as cortisol rise in your body. This hormone is useful for the fight or flight response. However, excess cortisol results in intolerance for glucose, deposition of abdominal fat, weaker immune system, slower learning and bad memory. In addition to that, too much cortisol lowers the levels of testosterone in men as well as those of the human growth hormone. Taking a daily nap can prevent all these problems.
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Naps increase your general mood
We have a neurotransmitter in our brains known as serotonin. It is responsible for regulating sleep, appetite and mood. Ample amounts of serotonin gives us a general feeling of well-being and contentment. When we get stressed, the producers of this hormone are blocked and we use up that which was already in place much faster and deplete it. This results in being overwhelmed, distracted and depressed. One way of restoring the normal levels of this hormone in the brain is to take a nap. Once you do, the brain is bathed in serotonin and this restores your good vibes and optimism.
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Napping improves our perception of senses
You can improve the sensitivity of your sense of sight, hearing and taste by taking regular naps every day. Dr. Sara C. Mednick has written a book known as Take a Nap, Change Your Life. In it, she says that your senses are boosted by taking regular naps. She also wrote that people who take regular naps are able to make new neural connections much faster than the people who don't take naps. This effectively increases their mental capability.
Naps increase your reaction time
By relaxing your mind and your muscles too, naps are capable of improving your reaction time. A nap boosts communication between your brain and the muscles of your body. As a result, you are able to sense things faster and react accordingly. This is a positive effect of napping that can actually save your life.
Taking a nap gets rid of accumulated fatigue
Have you been burning the midnight oil for a couple of days now? Maybe you have been working non-stop so as to meet a particular deadline. During this type of working regimen, it is highly likely that you are not able to get enough sleep. This level of performance can actually cause an accumulation of fatigue in the body. This results in slower performance and problems in learning new concepts. You can reverse these negative effects by taking up a schedule of napping for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Your mind and your body are refreshed by this activity.
The Important Take Away
Traditionally, napping was seen as a sign of being a slacker or a lazy person. Today, some organizations actually encourage their employees to take naps right after lunchtime. This is because of the positive effects of this activity. Above are some of them and you are bound to experience many more once you start taking daily naps.