Napping is often associated with stigmas like laziness, a lack of ambition, and low standards. Most people may also think that it is only for children, the sick and the elderly. Nevertheless, many studies has shown that midday dozing benefits both mental acuity and overall health. A short nap (about 20-30 minutes) can boost alertness, creativity, mood, and productivity in the later hours of the day. Napping is also believed to reduce stress, improve memory, and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.
- Improve learning and memory. A study in 2008 found that a 45-minute nap can improve memory. The improvement occurs in a phase called slow-wave sleep -a state of deep sleep during a normal period of sleep that is characterized by delta waves and a low level of autonomic physiological activity. Napping can also help learning. Memories can be reactivated during sleep and storage of them can be strengthened in the process. Learning foreign language might be enhanced by reactivating the memories (about new words you’ve learned before) during the sleep.
- Boost productivity. Naps can prevent the brain from working too hard in processing information. It also helps to consolidate new information that comes into the brain. This will, in turn, increase the concentration and productivity at work.
- Restore alertness and a=enhance performance. Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.
- Improve your mood and reduce stress. Napping has psychological benefits. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Treatment for narcolepsy. Scheduled napping might be prescribed for those who are affected by narcolepsy (a condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings).
- Relieve sleep deprivation. Daytime naps can be a good way to treat sleep deprivation, especially if you can’t find extra time at night. A short nap can have amazing restorative power and give you an energy boost.