8 things afternoon naps can do for your health
Getting an afternoon nap might be the dream for most working adults and parents who set their young ones down to sleep, hoping to do so themselves.
But while young children need to spend the majority of their days asleep, taking a midday slumber as we age may not be as innocuous as it seems.
According to a new study, a quick nap in the afternoon is good for your health. Researchers at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece studied 212 people.
They found that those who took a siesta experienced a fall in blood pressure. Overall, napping during the day was associated with an average 5 mm Hg drop in blood pressure. There’s more!
Below are the health benefits of napping in the afternoon:
1. It can improve your memory
Studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in storing memories. A nap can help you remember things learned earlier in the day as much as a full night’s sleep. Napping keeps you from forgetting things like motor skills, sensory perception, and verbal recall, too.
2. You may be able to connect the dots easier
Not only can napping help you remember things you’ve just learned. But it could help your brain draw connections between things you find out. In one study, nappers found it easier to put together information they got earlier in the day.
3. Enhance creativity
One of the health benefits of napping that will surprise you is it enhances creativity. Ever wake up with a great idea? REM sleep, which typically starts 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, activates parts of your brain associated with imagery and dreaming. A nap with REM sleep can help you combine ideas in new ways to come up with answers.
4. It may lift your mood
If you’re feeling down, try taking a nap to lift your spirits. Napping, or even just resting for an hour without falling asleep, can brighten your outlook. Experts say relaxation that comes from lying down and resting is a mood booster, whether you fall asleep or not.
5. Need to Be more alert? Nap
If you start to feel a bit sleepy right after lunch, you’re not alone. The post-lunch struggle is real. A 20-minute nap can help you battle heavy eyelids.
6. Naps are better than caffeine
If you’re feeling tired but have work or studying to get done, you may be better off taking a nap than sipping a coffee. Compared to caffeine, napping can bring better memory and learning.
7. It reduces stress
If you’re under a lot of pressure, a nap can release stress and improve your immune health. Experts believe that a 30-minute nap can do the trick.
8. Naps can help you sleep better at night
Although it may seem illogical, taking a nap during the day can help older adults improve sleep at night. Studies show a 30-minute nap between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. combined with moderate exercise; like a walk and stretching in the evening, helps improve nighttime sleep. Mental and physical health can get better, as well.
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