Napping is often mistaken as a ‘sleep’. However, it is not necessarily a ‘sleep’ but a brief period of relaxation where you lie down to recuperate. Research suggests good things happen to your body when you take a nap. The post describes below 10 extremely useful health benefits of napping that might shock even the most learned scholar.
10 useful health benefits of napping
If you are not aware, some of the brightest minds in history, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, were famously nappers. Besides, other influential individuals like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Napolean have valued an afternoon nap. Read 10 useful health benefits of napping!
- Combats sleepiness
- Improves alertness and performance.
- Increases memory retention
- Less instances of heart-related ailments
- A good drop in Cortisol levels
- Curtails Ghrelin and increases Leptin
- Restores circadian rhythms
- Delays skin aging
- Keeps neuroendocrine system healthy
- Treats Narcolepsy
More than 85% of mammalian species sleep for short periods throughout the day i.e., they are polyphasic sleepers. You too can take a short nap of 20-30 minutes to improve mood, alertness, and performance.
1] Combats Sleepiness
Napping is a healthier alternative to combat sleepiness.
2] Improves alertness and performance
A NASA study on military pilots and astronauts reveals a short nap does more than just help you feel refreshed and revitalized. A 40-minute nap improves alertness by a whopping 100 percent while performance by 34 percent.
3] Increases memory retention
Along with this boost in mental function from napping comes an increased ability to retain learned information. Research suggests that regular intervals of short naps strengthen the neural connections that form our memories.
Besides, power naps as short as 6 to 10 minutes can give you a boost of alertness, promote wakefulness, and enhance learning ability.
4] Less instances of heart-related ailments
Occasional napping reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by half in comparison to people who don’t nap at all. A 1-hour midday nap can significantly lower blood pressure and cut down on the need for medication.
If you’re always on the go, keep a cozy travel pillow to help you get a quick and comfortable power nap anytime, anywhere!
5] A good drop in Cortisol levels
Higher levels of Cortisol or Stress hormone is directly linked to sleepiness and increased risk of blood pressure. So, reducing the tension caused by stress through napping can have a good effect on your body.
Cortisol levels drop during a nap. As such, regular sessions of a short nap can help reverse the effects of nighttime sleep loss on cortisol.
6] Curtails Ghrelin and increases Leptin
Sleeping raises Ghrelin (a hormone linked to hunger) levels and decreases Leptin (the hormone that triggers fullness). So, replacing your next snack with a nap can help you reduce levels of Ghrelin and increase Leptin. As a bonus, you may lose some weight!
7] Restores Circadian rhythms
Wakefulness and tiredness are 2 phenomenons regulated by circadian rhythms. This Circadian rhythm naturally dips in the late afternoon. So, a quick and short nap can be helpful in delaying the onset of tiredness and maintaining the flow of these Circadian rhythms.
8] Delays skin aging
Irregular or not having adequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Renowned dermatologists in their study have proved, Sleep-deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure.
9] Keeps Neuroendocrine system healthy
When you experience poor sleep, it creates a hormonal neuroendocrine imbalance that contributes to our feeling of tiredness and irritability. The neuroendocrine system is a type of feedback-loop mechanism by which the hypothalamus maintains homeostasis (maintaining body temperature).
Its proper functioning is essential for maintaining good health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the Napping habit (taking a power nap of only 20 to 30 minutes) shows good results in restoring the neuroendocrine system back to levels we have after a good night’s sleep.
10] Treats Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy means excessive uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. Some Psychiatrists prescribe scheduled napping for individuals affected by this condition to avoid sleep attacks, sleep paralysis, and hallucinations.
If left unchecked, Narcolepsy with Cataplexy (a brief loss of voluntary muscle tone triggered by strong emotions) can result in a loss of cells in the brain that secrete hypocretin, a chemical found in the brain and important for regulating wakefulness.
Fortunately, the miracle drug for treating this illness requires nothing more than a short nap!
What are different types of naps
Naps can be classified into 3 different types-
- Planned napping – It’s also called preparatory napping and involves taking a nap before you are actually feeling sleepy.
- Emergency napping – It restores your energy levels. Use it to combat drowsy driving! When you’re completely exhausted and cannot continue any activity further, take an Emergency nap!
- Habitual napping – Practiced and repeated regularly to an extent that it occurs subconsciously. For example, an adult might take a short nap after lunch each day.
So, getting adequate sleep does not only help in repairing the damage from sleep deprivation but restores the overall well-being of an individual. Take a Nap! Change Your Life by reading 10 useful health benefits of napping!