The Health Benefits of Napping Regularly
Getting enough sleep is directly related to both physical and mental health. Research has shown that people who put off sleep for long periods begin to suffer physical and psychological breakdowns. The standard medical prescription for a healthy amount of sleep is set somewhere between seven to nine hours a night. However, many people living modern lifestyles fail to get that many consecutive hours in. This doesn’t need to be a cause for alarm however, as time lost in a night’s sleep can be made up with a nap during the day.
Many workplaces are starting to allow naps as a common practice, so taking out some time for a daytime nap while leaning back in the desk chair can be a restorative break. What follows are some benefits that can come from taking a daytime nap.
Elevates patience - a study that was recently conducted at the University of Michigan focused on people who were struggling with a new and complex software program that allowed them to draw geometric shapes on their computer screens. The problem was that the software interface was difficult to comprehend at first. The study measured how people adapted to the new software after taking a nap, versus a control group who only watched a relaxing nature documentary. The group that took a nap demonstrated a much higher rate of competency with the software than the group who watched the documentary.
Alertness levels increase - when the mind and body are too tired from lack of sleep it can seem like the senses are struggling to operate through a thick fog. This can make life dangerous if one has a long work commute or other drive in front of oneself, especially if the drive is routine or full of stop and go traffic. Battling the increasing urge to nod off while operating a vehicle can be a terrifying experience. NASA conducted a study with pilots for this very reason and discovered that a 40 minute nap could bring sleep deprived pilots back to safe levels of alertness. A similar study showed that just a 10 minute nap can also bring back the ability to focus.
Creativity is boosted - when we sleep our minds enter a different state of consciousness that is indicated by the eyes moving rapidly back and forth. This rapid eye movement, or REM sleep has been studied by scientists interested in how the brain works. A recent study shows that people who enter REM sleep while napping for short periods wake up with more of an ability to solve problems creatively.