Sleep in general has a wide range of health benefits from protecting against heart disease and obesity, improving bone strength, as well as memory. But does that sleep have to be at night?
In a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researches found that a short nap could reverse the negative health effects of a poor night sleep. It works by reducing stress and boosting the immune system. It's recommended that daytime naps are short to improve alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy. Recommendations from various studies report the ideal nap time anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. A longer nap, or one taken too late in the day, may adversely affect the quality of nighttime sleep.
With the many benefits of napping, here are the Top 3 Reasons We Think You Should Take a Nap Today:
1. Boost Your Immune System
Stress hormones are high and immunity is low when we don't get enough sleep. A 2015 study shows that a 30 minute afternoon nap counteracts these effects. They also note that the best immune boosting benefits come from naps planned to recharge and restore, NOT those necessitated by exhaustion.
2. Decrease Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis increases your risk of suffering from diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. In fact, a midday naps appear to lower blood pressure levels and decrease the number of necessary anti-hypertensive medications patient were required to take. The rest and recovery that can occur with a nap helps decrease inflammation in the body, which is a primary cause of many chronic illnesses.
3. Improve Your Mood & Mind
In another study, those who took short naps during the day reported feeling greater overall happiness. Scientists found when people didn’t get enough sleep, they showed significantly more activity in areas of the brain associated with anxiety. Those who were able to sneak in a nap healed erase that sleep-deprived irritability and depressive mood. Additionally, while you sleep your brain essentially cleans itself, making memory and cognition sharper the next day (and maybe even into the future).
The purpose of a midday power nap is not to get into a deep sleep as you would at night. Instead, it’s to revive the brain. We want to offer our mind and body a quick refresh and boost of alertness. For the most productive afternoon, the Mayo Clinic recommends that naps be taken between 2 pm and 3 pm. Doing so takes advantage of your normal post-meal dip in energy. Additionally, if done by 3 pm, poses the least risk for causing sleeplessness at night.
So, set an alarm to take a nap today! Head over to our Facebook page and let us know how it improved the productivity of your afternoon.