Proper sleeping patterns are of great value in terms of our health and well-being. According to latest research napping can be very good for your body as well.
We are living in a hectic world where many people have sleeping issues that can affect our cognitive functions and overall health. Hence, napping during the day can alleviate sleep shortage meanwhile enhancing the work of our brain thus boosting the ability of object, perceptual, and statistical learning and also improving problem-solving skills and verbal memory.
According to the findings of scientists napping can better the reaction time, assist with solving math issues, and logical reasoning. Plus, it betters the mood, treats fatigue, protects the heart, and reduces stress, blood pressure, and regulates body weight.
3 Types of Napping
This distinction was established by the National Sleep Foundation.
- Planned napping or preparatory napping
This type of napping means taking a nap before becoming sleepy. Planned napping can prevent tiredness and fatigue, and it is frequently introduced when someone plans to stay late in the evening.
- Emergency napping
This type of napping is very helpful when the person suddenly feels very tired and cannot keep on with the working activity at a specific time. Taking this nap helps in the treatment of drowsy driving and it is extremely beneficial for people that experience fatigue while using heavy and dangerous machinery.
- Habitual napping
This type of nap is a routine followed at the same time every time. This is more common for young children who fall asleep at almost the same time each afternoon and it is also common for adults that have a habit of napping after lunch.
As per a conducted Greek study adults that nap in the afternoon for at least three times a week are 37% less likely to die from a heart-related disease. Italians are well known for their long lunch break involving taking a nap (siesta) after lunch and this is a habit in many other countries. However, in the U.S. and the UK, this is not a custom, but the statistics say that they have the highest rates of heart attacks with terminal consequences, which is not the case with nations that practice napping.
Health Benefits of Napping
As mentioned before napping can be very good for your overall health, both mental and physical. It improves the work of your heart, boosts memory, alleviates stress, enhances cognitive performance, increases alertness, and stimulates relaxation.
In terms of psychology napping can bring many psychological benefits as having a short nap can be a great time off, a mini-vacation, body and mind relaxation that will incite rejuvenation.
The great value of napping was determined by NASA conducting a 1995 study involving 747 pilots. A group of pilots were taking a 40-minute nap every day, and the other group did not. The results showed that the group that was taking a nap had better results than the one who did not. Namely, the vigilance performance improvements were from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the other non-napping group.
According to a 2008 study naps are even better than caffeine in improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.
In general, napping is very good for you, but its duration can bring different benefits. Here it is how the length of a nap determines the benefits you will experience:
A 20 Minute Nap – Boosts mental learning skills, memory, and mental alertness.
A 20 – 30 Minute Nap – Improves memory and creativity.
A 30 – 60 Minute Nap – Betters memory and decision-making skills.
A 60 – 90 Minute Nap – This is the longest nap, but the most beneficial one as it offers the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This nap will reset the brain thus offering the dramatic effect on the problem-solving skills.
Napping during the day can be very good for you, but if you experience sleeping issues, then it is not recommended to take a daytime nap as it can interfere with the night sleep.
Other sources included: sleepfoundation.org