The Surprising Health Benefits Of An Afternoon Nap
Do you feel guilty about snoozing off accidentally in the middle of the workday? Our alertness naturally decreases from 1 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon. We, more often than not, fall accidentally asleep on our work desks, mostly right after lunch. This is our body telling us that our alertness levels are low.
A nap is usually 10-20 minutes long and usually taken during daytime. Anything above 10-20 minutes will launch you into sleep inertia, and you will not be able to snap out of it and get groggy later. Most people take afternoon naps or early evening naps, and it is absolutely okay to do so. It increases alertness and productivity. Studies have shown that naps are not only for babies but are great for adults as well. Hence, do not feel guilty about those small shut-eye sessions.
Why do we nap?
We nap for a lot of reasons, such as:
- to catch up on lost sleep from the night before
- in anticipation of less sleep or to avoid feeling sleepy later on
- for enjoyment, out of boredom or to pass time during the day
Napping is quite common. Most of us admit to napping at least once a week.
What are the perks of napping?
Provides a memory boost
It has been found in different studies that napping for 15-20 minutes provides a memory boost to people and helps retain memory better, while those who napped for more than 20 minutes suffered from grogginess, the 10-minute nappers experienced an immediate boost in performance. Napping should be limited to a short while and should be void from any disturbances.
Lowers blood pressure
Healthy sleep habit which includes a small afternoon nap is associated with a reduction in coronary mortality, or death due to high blood pressure, possibly because of reduced cardiovascular stress associated with a daytime nap. While it is undetermined that the reduced blood pressure is due to the sleep itself or any resting position, it can be said that it's the best sleep tip for your blood pressure, after all, it doesn’t hurt to steal 20 minutes away from your daily schedule!
Calms down your nerves
A 90-minute nap can potentially keep you calm, but waking up suddenly after the 20-minute deadline can leave you groggy, and 90 minutes is a long time for an afternoon sleep. If you can afford it, a 90-minute afternoon sleep which involves deep stages of sleep will wake you up refreshed and calm with less anger and anxiety. But, if you can’t afford 90 minutes, a 20-minute power nap will be just fine to reduce your stress. Just do not let your nap get into a deep sleep if you know something will suddenly wake you up.
Improves alertness in you
Yes, you heard that right. The afternoon nap that your teacher scolded you about or your boss frowns upon, actually helps increase alertness. It makes you feel well-rested for a short while and helps you not to fall asleep behind the wheels while driving back home from work in the evening.
Your mind loves a nap. Afternoon sleep can enhance creative thinking, boost cognitive processing, improve memory recall and generally clear out the cobwebs. It is one sleep habit you should inculcate in your daily routine if you work in a creative industry. Ask your boss to introduce a nap room where you can take short naps to improve your creativity, and what better than having mattresses for Livpure which will help you sleep better and wake you up feeling fresher than ever.
Boosts your willpower
Things can be extra tough to execute or take decisions about when you’re tired, especially when it comes to matters of willpower which is often highest in the morning after a good night’s sleep when the brain is fresh. When you are sleep deprived, making wise decisions become difficult. A mid-day power nap can reverse the usual willpower drain from morning to night along with the extra benefit of an afternoon nap that can reduce stress, improve mood, and restore focus.
It’s better than coffee any day
Bad sleep habits making you drink a lot of coffee? You will be glad to hear that afternoon naps work better than coffee and can save you unlimited coffee runs. Caffeine does not benefit performance, but a nap does. Along with giving your brain a temporary high with caffeine, coffee also makes you dehydrated and ingestion of unnecessary sugar doesn’t add to any health benefits.
How to nap?
Set an alarm for around 15-20 minutes. This provides restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking up. If you want to feel alert and productive after your nap, you can avoid sleep inertia by limiting the amount of time you spend asleep. Anything more than 20 minutes will launch you into a deep sleep and it is unhealthy to suddenly wake up from that.
The next is to create a sleep-friendly environment. Get a comfortable mattress and pillow from Livpure to have that pain free nap. Get some dark blinds to cover your windows. Play some white noise in the room to avoid overthinking and any distraction which will take away your sleep.
Set your naptime early in the afternoon. Schedule it in such a way that it falls between you waking up in the morning and your night sleep time. Healthy sleep habits like this will only keep your productivity to the highest level and reduce stress.