Although the concept of a power nap seems new-agey to us, there are many great reasons to power nap. The Spanish have long followed the tradition of the siesta. JFK, Churchill and Edison are a few that napped on the side, in between their important duties. Dali used to fall asleep holding a spoon over a plate, and when he was deep enough, the spoon would clatter onto the plate, waking him up. He said the microsleeps worked wonders, although whether he called them power naps is debatable. Today, progressive companies like Google, Nike and Zappos all have nap rooms. Naps are not just for kids and old folk! Here are 10 great reasons for power napping.
1. Improvement in Mood
Over time, as a sleep deficit builds up, we tend to get stressed and grumpy more easily. Power naps help balance this out, and put us on a more even keel. This makes for a happy us, and the people around us!
2. Increased Clarity of Thought
A Georgetown study suggests that the right hemisphere of the brain “…is doing important things in the resting state that we don’t yet understand.” According to Dr. Andrei Medvedev, this means that whilst power napping, your brain could be doing some useful ‘housekeeping’ duties, such as classifying data and consolidating memories. This is one of the major benefits of a power nap – you wake up with a less jumbled mind, with thoughts organized.
3. More Creativity
This follows on from the above point, and proves yet another great reason to power nap. As your brain is being allowed to process information, your subconscious is doing its thing. All the while, it's busy making associations, slotting thoughts into place, and creatively combining ideas.
4. Increased Alertness
Many people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, usually about 8 hours after waking. Research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a short daytime nap. Wouldn't you enjoy being more alert?
5. Improved Learning and Memory
People who nap after studying have been found to have better scores on their tests, which indicates that their brains were using the rest time to process what they had learnt. This reinforces what Dr Medvedev postulates in point #2. It's also one of the best reasons to power nap, especially for students.
6. Less Stimulants in Our Diet
A power nap can be a shot of energy, making it one less cuppa Joe for the day! Caffeine and sugar both help wake you up, but they’re followed by energy crashes. I don’t need to tell you ladies the consequences of too much sugar and coffee. A power nap is a healthy alternative.
7. More Safety
Midday sleep, or a power nap, means more patience, less stress, and better reaction time. The body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per day; 6 hours or less triples your risk of a car accident. Tired people make mistakes.
8. Better Health
A study has found that regular power naps can actually lower the risk of heart disease. Plus, they aid us in processing carbohydrates. They also help to keep your hormones better balanced. Why wouldn’t we ladies get on board with that? Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes extra in the morning. Even if you only have 15 minutes to spare, take them! Use an alarm to ensure you take advantage of the first 2 stages of sleep; don’t go over 30 minutes, as that will lead to inertia upon waking, due to a deeper sleep cycle.
9. Less Stress
This one doesn’t even need elaborating upon. Everyone can benefit from this, easily making it one of the best reasons to take a power nap. Getting rid of stress with 15-20 minutes of sleep? Bring it on!
10. Increased Productivity
We’re all sleep-deprived, and it’s only getting worse. Studies have shown that a power nap can improve productivity. In a world where we all work too hard and vacation too little, who would turn down the chance to be more productive, and in an enjoyable and restful way? Best of all, you can consider the nap an investment in your more productive future!
We try to compensate for our bad sleep patterns with sugar rushes, caffeine rushes, and sleeping late on the weekends. Taking a power nap instead just makes so much more sense. So, why wait? Go find yourself a comfortable place and grab a short power nap! Your body (and maybe your boss) will thank you! Are you a power napper? Let me know some of your favorite reasons to power nap.
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