Napping is one of those things that almost none of us wanted, as children to listen to our parents and actually do. Now that we are all sleep deprived college students, we are willing to pass out anywhere if it means getting those five extra minutes of sleep our bodies crave. Taking naps is for children right? Nope.
In fact there are more benefits to taking some time out of your day to catch up on sleep as an adult. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one-third of adults in America aren’t getting enough sleep. The CDC suggests that the average adult should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. In reality, most get less than six.
In fact, the need for naps is biologically built into being a human. It is a natural part of the average human’s circadian rhythm to metaphorically hit a wall around the afternoon. This is our body telling us that we should take some time and recharge with a nap.
If you only have enough time to grab a quick nap you should aim for no more than thirty minutes. Studies have shown that taking 30 minute naps can make you mood, level of alertness and and energy improve. If you have a little more time to nap you should aim for 60 to 90 minutes. Napping for 60 minutes can aid in remembering facts, faces and names while a 90 minute nap has been shown to be the easiest to wake up from and can improve emotional outlook and enhance creativity.
Research has also shown that taking a nap in the afternoon is actually more effective than drinking a cup of coffee or any other caffeine we use to get through the day. This research has also found that the effect of taking napping lasts longer on average than the effects of the caffeine.
As if the news about why you should take naps couldn’t get any better, naps have been found to be good for your heart. One study that looked at around 23,000 people found that napping three or more times a week was actually connected to lowering your chance of developing heart disease by about 37 percent. Napping has also been shown to have positive effects on a person’s blood pressure and can actually help in reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and even obesity in adults.
Does this mean that we should all start taking more time out of our days to catch up on sleep? Not necessarily. But, when you start to feel that 2 pm slump coming on, maybe instead of reaching for your sixth Diet Coke of the day, you should find a nice spot to lay down for 30 minutes and recharge.
Story by: Carlee Jo Blumenthal
Photo by: Carlee Jo Blumenthal