Why You Should Take a Nap Today
Setting aside time to take naps doesn’t always fit into everyone’s daily schedule, but if it does you might want to start considering it. Getting in quick afternoon naps might be able to reduce stress, help you keep your weight in check, and increase your memory. Talk about rejuvenating.
You might be able to sleep for an hour or so after lunch but the ideal amount of nap time is actually only 20-30 minutes, done between the hours of 2 and 3. That’s the best timing to avoid disrupting your sleep schedule and making the rest of your day feel a little sluggish. Longer naps can do different good things for the brain, but they’re not suggested for busy work days.
A 2010 Australian study found that people who take naps have higher brain activity for the rest of the day, not just immediately following the nap. There tends to be added activity in the right hemisphere of the brain after napping, which is the area of the brain associated with creativity. This might be why you wake up with the answer to a question you went to sleep with. Napping helps us remember small details like the names of people we met and move the information from our short term memory to longer term memory territory.
While the idea of a nap might sound a little indulgent and even a little lazy, it has been shown to increase employee productivity more than drinking another cup of coffee when fatigue starts to set in. Reactive times increase post napping, as well as all around alertness. Just think how much money you can save on your 3PM triple shot latte after a quick snooze on your desk.
Adults can get cranky without their naps just like kids can. (Not that having meltdowns are as appropriate, but the inspiration is still there.) Taking naps has been proven to help add a little extra spring to the nappers step which can make finishing the work day that much easier. Certainly happier workers are more efficient workers.
Even just anticipating a nap can lower your blood pressure, so knowing that you have one scheduled might be able to help you keep your cool throughout the day. One study also linked taking regular naps with a 37% reduction in developing certain cardiovascular diseases, so besides reducing stress naps might literally protect your heart as well.
Even if you can’t fall completely asleep, having a few relaxing minutes with the light turned off in your office might be enough to revive you to a certain extent. Some studies have found that the luxury of relaxing can be equally as good for you as the sleep itself. So there’s nothing to lose as long as you have a safe napping spot.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.