In other cultures, children are encouraged to take afternoon naps to grow taller and healthier. With the advent of technology, children and adult alike tend to ignore the powerful benefits an afternoon nap can bring. This may be one of the factors why health cases are getting younger in this generation. The advent of technology has prevented us from leading healthier lives. Giving ourselves break during the day becomes more challenging. Even a 30-minute nap may seem impossible to do.
Yet the busier your life gets, the more you have a reason to take power naps. Your body needs to get recharged from time to time and napping is the easiest way to do it. If you’re not convinced yet, the following reasons may prompt you to spend some time giving yourself afternoon power naps. Just don’t do it too late in the afternoon to avoid disrupting your sleep patterns in the evenings.
1. It helps with anxiety
According to studies, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more prone to anxiety disorders. Though a power nap can’t make up for the amount of sleep you lost, it’s still the best way to calm and relax your mind during the day.
2. It gives you more self-control
In another study, participants who were sleep deprived were better able to manage themselves after taking afternoon naps. Sleep deprivation can make you feel groggy and edgy. It would only take a small criticism for you to lash out angrily. Even if you’re not deprived of sleep, taking power naps is important for your self-control and wellbeing.
3. It keeps your testosterone levels in check
Another unhealthy effects of sleep deprivation are low testosterone levels. Most young people, deprive themselves of sleep by having nighttime escapades and nightlife adventures. But research says this can lower their testosterone levels. Keep your boners and energy up by taking power naps. But of course, take a full night sleep if possible to keep your testosterone levels high.
4. It helps you ward off certain diseases
Heart problems and other chronic diseases can be caused by too much stress and lack of proper sleep. A power nap in the afternoon may not totally prevent you from getting sick but it sure can help you manage your stress. The break may recharge your body and slow you down a bit.
5. It makes you alert
According to a NASA study, you can increase your alertness by up to 100 percent when you take a 40-minute power nap. You’ll get the same energy you have in the morning when you take a nap in midday. Thus, it’s recommended to take naps before going to an event later in the evening.
6. It helps improve your working memory
Your working memory is involved in complex tasks. This is when you do one thing while being focused at some other things. Power naps are especially important when you handle many things at a time to increase your alertness and improve memory retention too. The sleep enables your memories to get transferred to the neocortex where they’re retained and solidified.
7. It can help save your life
Most road accidents are attributed to drivers who fall asleep while driving. These drivers are sleep deprived but chose to drive despite feeling sleepy. If you want to drive even without having enough sleep during the night, try to get yourself frequent naps during the day. This can not only save your life but save other innocent lives too.
8. It boosts your immune system
In one study, the participants’ levels of norepinephrine were measured. Norepinephrine is the substance released by the body when subjected to stress, which causes increased heart rate and raises blood sugar levels and blood pressure. The participants went through the process of sleep deprivation, full night sleep, and afternoon naps. Those who were sleep deprived but had afternoon naps showed no changes in their norepinephrine.
9. It enhances your creativity
Afternoon naps can silence the left side of your brain, which is in charge of logic and analysis. But it allows the right side of the brain, which is in charge of creativity to communicate with itself making you become more creative once you wake up.
10. It increases productivity
If you think napping is only a waste of time when you have some important tasks to do, you may be wrong. Studies confirmed that your productivity and performance will increase when you give yourself at least 30 minutes nap in the afternoon. You’ll be much more productive and perform better after you’re well rested.
11. It boosts your mood
When under stress, your body uses more of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, and appetites. After this has been used up, your body is unable to produce more, which makes you irritable, anxious, and even depressed. On days that you’re feeling edgy, try a power nap and be your happy self again.
12. It helps you save money
It actually does. It’s an effective way of saving your trips from Starbucks to buy coffee for the purpose of reenergizing yourself. Instead of sipping that coffee, you only need to find a quiet place and nap. You’ll be feeling naturally energized after.
13. It improves your health
Stress increases the hormone cortisol in your body. This hormone is in charge of your fight and flight responses. An excess of this hormone in the body causes an increase in glucose intolerance, abdominal fat, and weakened immunity, which can ultimately lead to diseases in the heart and diabetes. But sleep combat these problems by releasing growth hormone that can boost your immunity and fight against stress. Napping is the best way to give your body a chance to heal itself.
14. It reduces your chances of committing mistakes
Another study involving military pilots found that those who have napped at least 40 minutes have improved their performance by 34 percent and reduced their chances of committing mistakes.
A full night’s sleep is important for your overall health. But if having a seven-hour sleep is impossible given your hectic schedules, a power nap in the afternoon could be of help to keep you sane and your body healthy. Napping may not make up for the lost sleep, but at least, it can help with your energy levels and other important functions for the rest of the day.