I’ve never been much of a napper. I’m not very good at sleeping at night either, but I was always that kid in kindergarten who could never sit still during nap time. Everyone said “You’re going to wish you napped more when you had the time,” and they may have been right. I took a power nap this weekend and felt amazing. Have I been missing out this whole time?
Apparently so. While nappers are often seen as lazy or sloth-like, taking a midday snooze is actually good for you. There’s a reason animals sleep so much, and it’s not because they have nothing better to do. Check out these amazing benefits of catching some zzzs during the day:
Naps Can Make You Less Frustrated
A new study from the University of Michigan showed that naps can reduce frustration and make you less impulsive. The study determined that a 60-minute nap can leads to more careful decision-making and being more calm when it comes to difficult tasks.
Napping Reduces Stress
The National Sleep Foundation actually recommends napping for 20-30 minutes to reduce stress and improve your mood. They say to consider it a "mini-vacation" in your day to help you relax.
Napping Boosts Your Immune System
Naps can also boost your immune system. In this study, levels of interleukin-6, an anti-viral protein, dropped in subjects who experienced a poor night's sleep. When the subjects napped, their levels didn't drop. So if you nap and still sleep poorly, your immune system won't freak out on you.
Naps Can Make You More Alert
Naps also make you more productive and alert. According to a study by NASA, pilots who took 40-45 minute naps before a flight simulator improved performance by 34% and alertness by 54%. Pilots who didn't nap reported 120 microsleeps, while pilots who napped reported only 34 microsleeps. It looks like kindergarten classes have the right idea with midday naps!
Naps Can Reduce The Effects Of Poor Sleep
If you've ever had a rough night's sleep, you'll know that you feel terrible the next morning. The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism determined that "a 30-minute nap can reverse the hormonal impact of a night of poor sleep." In the study, those who napped experienced reduced levels norepinephrine, which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar.
Naps Can Boost Creativity
If you're looking to get those creative juices flowing, take a snooze. Studies show that if you're stuck trying to solve a problem or do something that requires brain power, taking a nap can give you the creative boost you need. Literally sleeping on it sparks activity in the right side of your brain, which is the creative side.
Naps Can Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is not good as it can lead heart, brain, and kidney damage. It turns out that napping can significantly reduce your blood pressure. A study from the Journal of Applied Psychology reported that "The siesta habit is associated with a 37% reduction in coronary mortality, possibly because of reduced cardiovascular stress associated with daytime sleep." The study also said that they weren't 100% sure if it was the sleeping or relaxation that lowered the blood pressure, but regardless, it worked.
Naps Can Help You Get Over The Afternoon Slump
We all know the "2 o'clock slump" is a real thing. It happens every day, and you've definitely experienced it. You probably experienced it today! But this can be solved with a little nap. Taking a quick 20-30 minute nap can reenergize you and give you a boost to tackle the rest of your day according to research.