Taking a nap in the afternoon is not always a bad idea. Think about Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher or Bill Clinton. What do you think they have in common? Well, it may be to your surprise, but these three people always spoke about “taking a nap” in the afternoon.
Taking a nap in the afternoon is beneficial not only to people in high positions. Studies show that a good nap in the afternoon will improve your emotional state, your creativity and also your overall performances.
What are the benefits of taking a nap in the afternoon?
It reduces fatigue
According to WebMD studies, Americans are usually sleep deprived. Dr. William Anthony, the author of a famous specialized book, thinks that the afternoon nap is a new demand of our body, due to daily activity that gradually intensifies. Dr. William Anthony also says that working hours, stress and other household duties cause your body to require some rest, especially in the afternoon. Taking a nap, says the author, is always a good idea.
It improves your mood
The Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Hiroshima University in Japan made a research on a group of subjects and they came to the conclusion that taking a nap of at least 20 minutes can improve your mood, raise your self-esteem and also your vigilance. As a proof stood the encephalograms of the subjects, where the main points of focus were the brain waves and other parameters.
It improves your memory
Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of Psychology and Neurology at the Berkeley University in California, conducted a study on 44 volunteers. The conclusion was that the ones who slept 90 minutes in the afternoon had 20% better results in memorizing certain elements of the test.
It prevents mental exhaustion
Busy working hours can make you feel mentally exhausted and irritated even in the middle of the day. Furthermore, mental exhaustion causes a lack in productivity. All these things can be avoided by taking a nap, no matter its duration.
It improves your cognitive performance
Almost every study conducted until now seem to prove that the afternoon nap improves your mental performance. NASA made a research in which they proved that sleeping for about 45 minutes improved flight performance up to 34% and vigilance raised to 100%.
It improves creativity
The best way to ensure your creativity stays at its peak is to take a 60-90 minutes nap in the afternoon. This is shown by a study conducted by the Sleep Journal. However, your sleep must complete the 5 phases of its cycle in order for you to fully enjoy the improved creativity.
It improves your heart’s health
Harvard University’s School of Public Health made a study in 2007 which concluded the fact that taking a nap in the afternoon decreases the risk of heart disease by 37%. Still, this study’s conclusion was the sum of sleep, a healthy diet and sustaind workout, which also decreased the levels of cholesterol.
It regulates your weight
Studies from the University of Columbia and a university from Japan showed that people who slept 5-7 hours per night had a 50% higher risk of becoming overweight, compared to people who slept 7-9 hours. The same scientists think that leptin (the hormone responsible for satiety) is insufficiently released due to the lack of sleep, thus making you barge into the fridge.
It favours healing
While you’re awake, the brain receives a constant flux of information. If you choose to take a nap, your brain will have a clear way to function free and to observe what is wrong inside your body. This helps you recover faster from certain injuries, your brain being the best medicine in some cases.