Going all day and pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion is sometimes a necessity, but there are other times when catching some midday shut-eye is actually in your best interest.
We’re talking about napping, of course!
While sneaking a little sleep might be traditionally frowned upon in the adult world, it turns out that napping regularly is actually one of the best things you can do for your body and your mind. And yet it’s still wasted on preschoolers and denied to the rest of us!
It seems like common sense when you think about it. You get drowsy in the middle of the day, and stretching out on a couch for just a few minutes sounds fantastic.
And studies have shown that it actually is!
Just like how enjoying a good laugh both feels great and has serious physical and mental benefits, napping is also one of those things that we love doing for a reason. Amazing how our body gives us those hints, right?
Read on to see how napping can benefit your body, mind, and mood, and you might just get the urge to lean back and take a little nap yourself!
Benefits Of Napping
- Improves Heart Health :
A study at Harvard showed that people who nap regularly are less likely to have heart health issues later in life.
Napping makes up for a lack of sleep that can wreak havoc on heart health that, unfortunately, a lot of us experience.
So what’s a regular nap? At least three times a week, for at least 30 minutes.
- Reduces Stress And Anxiety :
Being tired causes stress, which makes you even more tired. But napping can reverse that, soothing you right at the peak time of stress.
A study in 2012 showed that three stress hormones spiked when their participants didn’t nap, causing more health-damaging stress.
This is especially important for men to note since they’re more likely to have stress-related health issues than women.
- Sharpens Cognitive Functions :
We all know that if you don’t get enough sleep at night, you’re definitely not on your game the next day.
And just as sleep affects learning and information retaining abilities, so do naps.
Taking a 60 to 90-minute nap has been shown to boost mental performance for up to 24 hours afterward.
- Fights Food Cravings :
When you’re tired and craving energy, it makes sense that you’d want something to eat.
But that’s also a great way to eat a lot more junk food than you mean to, which can lead to its own set of problems.
Napping is an alternative to snacking in that it boosts energy and stops you from thinking about food — because you’re asleep! Just a 10 to 15-minute nap can get rid of a craving.
- Improves Physical Performance :
Napping seems like the opposite of working out, but in fact, studies show that athletes who take short naps perform better on the field, improving their motor reaction skills and speed.