Why a nap is good for you zzzzzzz

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Cat Nap

I have days when I need a nap. Well alright, most days I need a nap. My teen son says, “Mum you’re 50 not 80!” as if that means I shouldn’t need one.

But us secret nappers know that a nap is a Jolly Good Thing. Today for instance. I have 2 big bundles of papers that I need to read for work. I brought them home dutifully. They are on my dining room table. And then I went to bed for an hour. Bliss.

Yes I’ll read the papers. But napping comes first.

Here are some facts about naps;

They are good for the heart

Taking 40 winks in the middle of the day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease, particularly in young healthy men, say researchers. They studied 23,681 individuals living in Greece who had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer when they first volunteered, and found that those who took a 30-minute siesta at least three times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death. The researchers took into account ill-health, age, and whether people were physically active. So go ahead and nap — a short daily snooze might ward off a heart attack later in life. It is known that countries where siestas are common tend to have lower levels of heart disease

They help with stress and increase productivity ( yay for the power nap)

They let your brain rest, recuperate and create

Rest and relaxation isn’t only vital to your health — it might also make you a more creative person. People tend to be more imaginative after a good night’s sleep. Other experts agree that taking a nap or stepping away from a problem or project refreshes the mind and could lead to better ideas later. Power napping allows your brain to create the loose associations necessary for creative insight and opens the way for a fresh burst of new ideas. So if you feel stuck, then you might want to take a nap. Return to the problem after diverting your attention for a while. The best part is that there’s no need to feel guilty, because taking some “me time,” in this case, could help your business in the long run.

A nap increases your brains cognitive functioning by 40%!

In a recent study, researchers at NASA showed that a 30-minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by approximately 40 percent! Tests carried out on one thousand volunteers proved that those who continued working without rest, made lower scores in intelligence tests like the IQ test. More importantly, their capacities to work and memorize decreased in comparison to those who napped after lunch.

In concordance with NASA’s work, biology students at Berkeley determined that the nap must be short in order to produce maximum effectiveness. Over forty five minutes, the beneficial effects of napping disappear and it is therefore suggested to take a fifteen to thirty-five minute “power nap”. This is the time necessary for the organism to rest and enables brain neurons to recuperate.

Naps are good for your health

Napping in general benefits heart functioning, hormonal maintenance, and cell repair, says Dr. Sara Mednick who is at the forefront of napping research. A power nap, says Mednick, simply maximizes these benefits by getting the sleeper into and out of rejuvenating sleep as fast as possible.
How to Power Nap

Also it appears that a nap need not interfere with a good nights sleep. Unless you suffer from insomnia a nap may well help you feel more rested and sleep better at night! It’s all part of our bodies natural rhythm and the biological clock so why argue with it?!

Gregory Belenky, MD, Research Professor and Director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, recommends naps as a way to make up for lost nighttime sleep. He says, “The beauty of naps is that they add to total recuperative sleep time,” adding that “A large number of the world’s people divide their sleep into two blocks (with the afternoon sleep called a siesta in Spanish-speaking countries). It is even possible that divided sleep is more recuperative than sleep taken in a single block.”

Napping

So join me in napping whenever possible. Aim to make it a daily habit. Make it a necessity not an option. And watch yourself feel better, more creative, healthier and nicer to be with. What’s not to like?! Cats do it, dogs do it,  dah dah birds and bees do it … lets fall in love ( with naps) Sorry got carried away there. 🙂

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