As soon as we emerge from the womb, we begin taking naps and we usually take several naps throughout the day to make up for the lack of nighttime sleep. Small children continue to take naps up until preschool, or kindergarten in many cases. Preschools and daycare centers set aside a resting period at some point during the day so that kids can recoup and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to learn and play again. As we get older, we lose the opportunity to nap, or we just don’t take it seriously enough and we simply don’t do it.
The most beneficial kind of nap is a power nap. This involves sleeping for just 15 to 45 minutes. Many people claim that just 10 to 20 minutes should do the trick. Once you get into REM sleep and snooze for longer, you are more likely to wake up irritable and tired.
Here are 4 health benefits of naps:
1. Sharpens the Senses
A long day filled with work, school and/or children can create intense feelings of fatigue and drowsiness. This makes us more prone to vehicle accidents, injury accidents, stress and other unhealthy conditions. If you’re feeling tired during the day, try to get in a quick 10 to 20 minute power nap to help increase your reaction time and make you more alert.
2. Reduces Stress
The world we live in is a lot more fast-paced than it used to be, even just 2 decades ago. We’re always on the computer, working, exercising, talking or texting on the phone, or attending class. Add all of that to people not getting enough sleep and it can be a recipe for disaster because it can leave us feeling really stressed out. Napping is a good way to rest our mind and bodies from all of the different things that are going on around us.
3. Adds to Total Sleep Time
If you aren’t getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, taking a power nap during the day will add to your total sleep time and leave you feeling more rested upon waking. If you suffer from insomnia, though, napping isn’t going to make up for all of the sleep you are likely losing, so you aren’t going to get the same benefit.
4. Improves Learning
There have been several studies done to determine whether a short nap can improve learning and napping definitely seems to help. When you shut your brain off for even just 10 minutes, it can help you to feel refreshed and ready to continue. If your mind is constantly going, it’s going to get tired; so if you can, try taking short nap in between study sessions or even business meetings.
It’s so important not to underestimate the power of a nap. A quick 10 to 20 minute nap can help us feel more alert, reduce stress, assist in learning and add to our total sleep time for a 24-hour period.