In today’s fast-paced world too many people don’t get enough sleep during the night and rarely who has the time to sleep during the day. More and more people, especially in the US, are actually sleep deprived and get less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. People believe that this is not such a big deal, but the truth is that lack of sleep can lead to a number of health problems and reduce our cognitive function.
But the good news is that even if you don’t get the necessary 8 hours of sleep at night, you can make up for them with more frequent naps. Studies have shown that frequent naps can replenish your depleted energy levels and significantly boost your overall health. If you want to make the most of your day and fight off fatigue as a result of lack of sleep, you need to take regular power naps during the day. These daytime power naps can have a number of health benefits and below you’ll see the most important ones.
Damage repair on a cellular level
Our body uses the time when we sleep to repair itself and recharge our energy levels. Moreover, during this time it releases a protein which helps repair the damage caused by stress and toxins on a cellular level. If we don’t get enough sleep, our body will not have the time to do all of this. That’s why naps are important, they stimulate the production of this protein and thus cellular repair. But, you need to nap in moderation because naps longer than 45 minutes can actually have the opposite effect and make you less productive.
Better heart health
Our cardiovascular system benefits from napping as well. Studies have shown that people who take regular naps have a 40% lower chance to develop heart problems. Furthermore, regular 45 minute naps can lower your stress levels and high blood pressure, both key factors when it comes to cardiovascular health.
Better focus and memory
When it comes to improving your memory and cognitive function, short naps of 10-15 minutes seem to be best. These short power naps improve your mental operation, alertness, reaction times and performance. All of these functions stay improved for up to 2-3 hours after the nap, which is really incredible. Longer naps of 30 minutes or so didn’t have the same effect like the shorter ones so it was concluded that 15 minute naps are best for overall cognitive improvement.
How long to nap?
As we already mentioned before, the duration of the nap is crucial when it comes to the type of benefits you can have from it.
If you just want a quick reboot of your alertness it’s best to have a quick 10-15-minute nap.
To improve your cognitive memory processing, experts recommend a longer 60-minute nap but the down side is that you may feel a bit groggy when you wake up.
If you nap for an hour and a half, it counts as a full sleep cycle so it can improve your creativity and procedural memory.