There are some places around the world that purposefully shut down in the afternoon, so people can go home from work to take a nap. Unfortunately, in the corporate-bounded U.S., a mid-day nap is considered a luxury and a sign of pure laziness.
And before you start feeling guilty for falling asleep while reading a book or watching a movie – know that napping is a completely natural phenomenon and it is actually good for you.
Even if we do get enough sleep at night, as the day passes our alertness and focus deteriorate. So, a nap can be a life-saver for you in times when you have to full alerted and focused. Whether you have to finish up a work project or study for a test – a nap will rekindle your focus and alertness and boost your memory.
Apple and Google know this, and they are already implementing it by letting their employees have nap time.
Moreover, studies have already proved that short naps improve productivity and awareness. Besides, who does not want a boss that allows them to close their eyes off and shut off before the afternoon pressure?
A study from the University of Colorado Boulder discovered that children who didn’t have their afternoon nap had increased levels of anxiety, showed less interest and joy, and had poor problem-solving skills as opposed to those children who napped. The same is true for adults.
Moreover, Berkeley researchers discovered that an hour nap greatly increases memory and learning skills. Naps serve as a source for rebooting and clearing out the short-term memory thus our brain is refreshed with new storage space.
So, how long does one needs to nap?
According to experts, a 10-20 minutes power napping is best for increasing your alertness and energy and refreshing your brain. The nap is not so long which allows you to get right back on your tasks immediately upon waking.
If you nap for 30 minutes, however, that may lead to a 30-minute period of wooziness as you will often wake up the moment your body enters the deep sleep stage. If you nap for an hour, you will feel the same grogginess, but an hour-long nap boosts memory.
Long naps of around 90-minutes are recommended to those people who didn’t get enough sleep the night before. This is a full sleep cycle which drastically improves creativity and emotional memory.
All in all, naps are good for your physical and mental health. However, be careful to not substitute you night sleep with an afternoon nap – consider your napping time as an addition to your good night’s sleep.