Sometimes we all feel as if we need to curl up and get a little shut-eye, but it’s not always considered appropriate. Often, those who declare their need for a nap are labelled as lazy or unmotivated. However, this is not necessarily true, as there are a number of benefits to enjoying a mid-afternoon siesta.
When you’re sleep deprived, it’s normal to feel unproductive or lazy, resulting in aimlessly browsing the web or lounging on the couch. While going back to sleep may be frowned upon, the results are bound to be better than the state you’re already in!
Not only does sleep itself have a range of positive effects on your health, such as a lower risk of heart disease, taking a nap can also help you in your day-to-day life.
Improve your learning and memory abilities.
Deep sleep, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been closely associated with the cognitive process, which encompasses memory and motor skills, so a long nap, during which you’ll fall into REM sleep, is sure to benefit your brain. However, although beneficial, you may end up feeling groggy after long naps, which may not be great for your productivity.
If you’re only able to fit in 60 to 90 minutes of shut-eye, you may find that you feel surprisingly refreshed. This is due to the fact you’ll awaken in between REM cycles, when your sleep is at its lightest.
If you’re truly dedicated to basing your naps on your cycle and ensuring you wake up energized, there are apps available for your smartphone, such as Sleep Cycle. These are designed to sense the motion of your body and wake you up as you are emerging from deeper sleep.
Increase your Alertness
Taking the idea of waking up refreshed a little further, your cognitive alertness is also proven to be higher after a little snooze. A study conducted by NASA on airline pilots found those who had enjoyed a 40 minute nap showed higher levels of alertness than those who had been awake for longer periods.
Harvard Men’s Health Watch even suggests that just 10 minutes of sleep can help your brain feel more alert. While this may not help you feel less tired, it may be enough to help you get through the day until bedtime.