Ten Reasons Why You Should Find Time To Nap
Napping has always been something I’ve seen as being associated with laziness. It’s terrible to say this as my husband is a massive advocate for napping and has spent years researching the benefits in terms of wellness and productivity.
Taking time for yourself to reboot during the day with a nap can help boost memory, reduce stress levels, and make you more productive for the remainder of your day.
So – I’ve decided to jump on board and trial napping in my daily life. I’ll start this week as I’m going away on holiday to the South West so will have the time to kick back and get 20-minutes of kip in the afternoon. I will then try to introduce this into my working week, stopping after lunch to have a 20-minute relax or nap to see how it benefits my body, mind, and soul. My husband has a new business called NapLab, so I am lucky enough to have a house full of napping products to trial which should help me on my mission to incorporate napping.
Did you realize you are likely to be sleep-deprived right now? The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep. With our busy lives, most people fall short of those targets. Dr Abid Malik, Medical Director of the Sleep Disorder Centre at Orlando Health-South Seminole Hospital says, “If getting enough sleep isn’t possible, then napping is the next best thing”.
1. Napping need only take a few minutes
A power nap is enough to get you feeling alert and alive again, and only needs to be 15-20 minutes. This short period allows the chemicals in our brain to rebalance which will leave you feeling enlivened.
2. A nap can help curb your cravings
A Stanford University study found a correlation between weight gain and lower sleep levels. Leptin and ghrelin are both ‘hunger hormones’. Both the ghrelin and leptin hormones do not function optimally when you are sleep-deprived. The ghrelin hormone increases appetite, lets you know when your body needs food, and also plays a role in body weight. Leptin has an opposite reaction, is created by fat cells and decreases your appetite. When you are short on sleep your body produces the ghrelin hormone, which in turn makes you want to eat more. Being short on sleep also lowers production levels of leptin, which means you are less likely to get indicators of when you are full.
3. Some regular daily ‘shut-eye’ can reduce your risk of chronic illness
There is a growing body of research that correlates sleeping for six hours or less per night, with an increased chance of developing chronic diseases (such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes). It is posited that less sleep increases stress levels, which is also a factor that contributes to developing those fatal conditions.
4. Sleeping helps with stress management
Stress can significantly increase your blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke. Research published by Allegheny College suggests that taking a daily doze may help your body manage anxiety. Researchers believe that napping improves your heart’s ability to recover from stress, with a ‘knock on effect’ of lowering blood pressure.
Not resting often enough is likely to result in being stressed and uptight, according to a study from University of California, Berkeley. When sleep is lacking it has been shown there is more activity in areas of the brain associated with anxiety, so taking 20-minutes for yourself to reboot during the day is great for mental health.
5. Reboot yourself for the afternoon
The University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study that revealed the more hours we spend awake, the more lethargic we become and our brainpower diminishes. The participants that were shown to have the greater attention later in the day were those that took a daytime nap. The participants that did not nap were more distracted and had trouble learning as the day progressed.
6. Napping and fitness are positively correlated
Most of us probably already know that we feel more able to perform physically when we are adequately rested. Research by Stanford University found that well-slept athletes could achieve faster sprint times, longer endurance, a lower heart rate, as well as better workouts in general. It was also revealed that most athletes don’t get enough sleep to recover from their workouts, which can result in poor mindset, slower reaction times and negative mood. A post-exercise nap can do wonders for your body and mind, and improve recovery times.
7. Doze and your skin will thank you for it
Yep, that whole saying about ‘getting your beauty sleep’ is right. Sleep is magical for your skin – it allows your skin to repair and replenish itself. The University Hospitals Case Medical Centre conducted research that found that sleep-deprived participants developed uneven skin tones, more fine lines and reduced elasticity in the skin. Take a nap and give your skin a chance to glow!
8. Get your ‘smarts’ on!
If you want your brain to be sharp then a nap is what’s needed. Some research by German neuropsychologists revealed that taking a nap after you have learnt something new, increases your ability to commit new information to memory five times more than if you didn’t take a post-learning nap. Your ability to remember is multiplied after you let your brain go into a relaxed state.
9. Nap for heart health
A British study revealed that just one night of poor sleep can result in your blood vessels becoming less flexible. That in turn can increase your chance of heart disease. When you are really tired your blood vessels can become unresponsive and stiff. Once you are rested your blood vessels return to their flexible state.
10. It may help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay
Sleeping helps ‘clean’ your brain, which means B-Amyloid, the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s, is removed. The Johns Hopkins University conducted research and revealed that those participants that didn’t get enough sleep had larger deposits of B-Amyloid.
So now you know how good napping can be for your body and mind, be sure to enjoy some pillow time today!