Taking a timeout to sleep during the day does much more than just give us a quick energy boost. It also confers some serious cognitive and health advantages as well. Here’s what the latest science tells us. Unlike 85% of all mammalian species, humans sleep just once a day. It’s clear that we’re not getting enough sleep. Nearly a third of us say we’re simply not getting enough of it. Power naps can relieve our so-called sleep deficits, but they can also boost our brains, including improvements to creative problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual learning, object learning, and statistical learning. They help us with logical reasoning, math, our reaction times, and symbol recognition. Not only that, napping is good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels, and surprisingly, even weight management!
Take A Nap For The Sake Of Your Heart….
In a study carried out in Greece, researchers found that adult males who took an afternoon nap at least three times per week were 37% less likely to die from a heart related disease in comparison to men who never take a short afternoon nap.
In many countries, it is custom to have a nap (commonly know as a siesta) after lunch, and it is not such a coincident that nearly all such countries have an extremely low rate of fatal heart attacks. On the other end of the scale we have countries such as the United States where heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death, and as most of us know, these countries do not really advocate afternoon naps. In fact, taking a short nap in the afternoon could end up costing you your job.
Does The Length Of A Nap Affect The Benefits?
Yes and no. The length of your nap will determine what sort of benefits you’re likely to experience. But, even a short 20 minute nap in the afternoon can provide all the benefits of napping which have already been mentioned. However, According to the WebMD napping can be broken up into different categories:
20 Minute Nap – While a short 20 minute power nap does enhance memory, it has a more dramatic effect on mental alertness and motor learning skills.
20 To 30 Minute Nap – This length of nap will typically enhance creativity while at the same time also boosting memory.
30 To 60 Minute Nap – This type of nap has an incredibly beneficial impact one’s decision making skills. It also improves the part of your memory that’s responsible for memorizing things such as the alphabet; directions and etc.
60 To 90 Minute Nap – Taking this type of nap will ensure that you get REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and as such, this type of nap is the most beneficial of them all. Once you reach REM sleep, it’s almost as if the brain resets itself. One could say it’s like starting at the beginning again. Studies have shown that a 60 to 90 minute nap can have a dramatic effect on the brain in terms of problem solving. Here again, NASA has conducted their own studies, and they land up with the same result.