6 Benefits of Napping (And How to Do it Well)

08/16/2017 08:11 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2017

Birds do it, bees seem to do it, and we all KNOW cats do it. So let's do it, too. Let's take a nap.

The first thing you should know is, feeling sleepy in the afternoon is normal. In fact, it doesn't mean you had a big lunch, or you're depressed, or you're not getting enough exercise. Actually, our cycles work this way: every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. First, one from about 2am to 4am, and the other around 10 hours later, between 1pm and 3pm. Surprisingly, it happens to everyone; we're physiologically hardwired to nap. As a result, the desire to nap is the expression of our body’s natural rhythms. To put it another way, it happens whether we get enough sleep at night or not.

Celebrity Nappers

With this in mind, some of our most historic brains are noted fans of napping: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Napoleon Bonaparte, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Brahms, Leonardo da Vinci.

4 Tips For a Better Nap

  1. For the best experience, lying down will speed up falling asleep for a nap by 50%. (NapWaySuccess)
  2. Also, a dark, cozy place that’s not too warm or too chilly is optimum. And nap on a couch instead of in bed, so you’re less tempted to snooze for too long.
  3. Surprisingly, falling asleep in a hammock leads to faster had deeper sleep than in a bed. (HammockNapsBest)
  4. And finally, a sleep mask helps by eliminating light.

3 Effective Naps

The length of your nap has a huge effect on how alert you feel afterward.

  1. A quick power nap should last between 10 and 26 minutes.
  2. An hour-long nap will trigger rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which helps improve memory.
  3. A 90-minutes snooze will get you through a full sleep cycle, which can boost creativity and emotional memory.

Given these points, beware of sleeping for longer than 90 minutes. In short, you'll enter a new sleep cycle and won't get any additional benefits. (NappingGuide)

6 Benefits of Napping

  1. Naps improve your health: A study of Greek adults found that napping at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more was associated with a 37% lower risk of death from heart disease.
  2. Naps make you smarter: In a study funded by NASA, David Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a team of researchers found that letting astronauts sleep for as little as 15 minutes markedly improved their cognitive performance, even when the nap didn't lead to an increase in alertness or the ability to pay more attention to a boring task.
  3. And naps make you happier: Studies naps are a definite mood booster.
  4. Plus, napping boosts your memory and: Research at Harvard Medical School found that napping, especially when accompanied by dreaming, was an effective tool for improving memory and learning ability.
  5. Additionally, naps make you more creative: Neuroscientists at the City University of New York found that taking a nap boosts a sophisticated type of memory that helps us see big picture ideas and be more creative.
  6. Even the thought of a nap is a plus: A British study suggests that just knowing a nap is coming is enough to lower blood pressure.

So, a daily nap can buoy us up when we’re not getting quite enough winks at night. In essence: napping is not a character defect! (Naps) (MoreNaps)

What’s stopping you from being the best you can be? The best way to get things done is to begin. Contact me through Audacious-Aging.NYC®, to get started. Inspiring a healthy, active, and vital life, now and tomorrow, through remote coaching or in-home personalized fitness programs.

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My name is Jacqueline Gikow. I’m an enthusiastic, supportive personal trainer and wellness coach, inspiring a healthy, active, and vital life now and tomorrow. This article was first published at Audacious-Aging.NYC®

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