Overall the United States is becoming more sleep deprived as a nation. Our busy lifestyles make it hard for us to squeeze in a nap everyday. Overall napping for twenty to thirty minutes a day can help improve your alertness, performance, and mood. Napping seems to be frowned upon in our workaholic culture, often people that take naps are thought of to be lazy or unmotivated. Naps should be thought of as a powerful tool that helps our overall health and intelligence. Here are six health benefits gained from napping once a day:
If you are having trouble keeping your eyes open during the day, you are definitely not performing to the best of your ability. A NASA study has shown that a forty-minute nap increases alertness by 100%. Studies have also shown that a twenty-minute nap is more effective than some exercise and 200 mg of caffeine. Taking a nap in the middle of the day will keep you as alert for the second part of your day as you were for the first.
2. Improves Mood
The neurotransmitter serotonin is what regulates our appetite, mood, and sleep. Higher levels of serotonin are used when our bodies are stressed; blocking more production, and making us feel anxious, depressed, and easily distracted. Napping helps your body get plenty of serotonin by reducing stress levels.
3. Improves Health
An excess amount of cortisol is created in the body when you are sleep deprived. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone that helps us to fight or flight responses, but an excess amount increases glucose intolerance, abdominal fat, weakens the immune and muscular system, and decreases growth of hormone and testosterone levels in our bodies. All of these harmful effects can lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Growth hormones are released when you sleep, which is the antidote to cortisol, resulting in a boost to your immune system, reduces anxiety and stress, helps in muscular repair and weight loss, and primes your sexual function.
4. Improves Learning and Working Memory
Your working memory helps you with complex tasks where you have to pay attention to one thing while holding onto countless other things in your memory. Napping will help your memory retention – during your sleep, recent memories are transferred to your neocortex, which is where your long-term memories are solidified and stored.
5. Heightens creativity and your senses
Napping can improve your creativity by loosening up ideas in your brain as well as fusing dissimilar ideas together. Getting a mid day nap can also improve your sensory perception – food will taste better, views can look prettier, and noises/songs even sound better!
6. Saves money
Instead of going to Starbucks a few times a day or buying Five Hour Energy drinks , napping boosts your energy naturally and more effectively.
Make it a priority to fit in a twenty to thirty minute nap a day into your busy schedule, you will surely feel more energized and productive as well as improve your health for the long term.