Especially as we age, it can be easy to reminisce and yearn for our younger years in life – way back before we had to worry about jobs or bills. Those blissful years of childhood were over before we knew it, and even though we may have dreaded it as a child, perhaps the thing that many adults miss is the luxury of having a designated naptime. Lucky for us, we have good reasons for desiring naptime as it comes with a variety of health benefits.
The Power of a Good Nap
It has many names: naptime, siesta, catnap, doze, power nap. Whatever you call it, there are actually many health benefits of napping to consider before you force your eyes to stay open during a long day:
- Restoration. The best part about naps is that you really only need 15 to 20 minutes to feel fully refreshed, which is a short amount of time that many of us can spare during our busy schedules. Even though you only need 15 to 20 minutes, the length of your nap actually comes with specific benefits. For example, if you nap for 10 to 20 minutes, you’ll be more energetic and alert; if you nap for 60 minutes, you’ll be able to remember new information better; and if you nap for 90 minutes, you’ll be more creative.
- Protects your heart. According to a British study, even just one night of bad sleep can stiffen your blood vessels, which leads to an increased risk in heart disease. Luckily, blood vessels became flexible again once the study participants got enough rest, so be sure to catch up on your sleep if you’re feeling drowsy.
- Reduces your risk of chronic diseases. Heart disease, obesity and diabetes are just some of the chronic diseases that getting enough sleep can help prevent according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Boosts your physical activity. Getting enough sleep can actually help you perform better when exercising, whether you’re a professional athlete or a new gym member.
- Stress management. Stress can have serious impacts on one’s health, including an increased risk in a heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Luckily, a quick nap combined with a good night’s sleep can be one of the easiest ways to manage your stress.
- Beauty sleep. As it turns out, beauty sleep is more than just a familiar expression! An uneven skin tone, loose skin and more fine lines are all signs that you may not be getting enough sleep.
Catching up on our Z’s
A midday nap can be a great boost for our body and minds, so here are some tips to help you get the most out of your naptime:
- Pick a peaceful environment with very few distractions.
- Adjust the room’s temperature to make it comfortable.
- Always try to take a nap midday or in the early afternoon. A late-afternoon or early-evening nap may mess up your nighttime sleep patterns.
- Give yourself plenty of time to wake up from your nap before you resume activities.
While naps can be great for recharging our bodies in the middle of the day, the benefits of a good night’s sleep should not be ignored, so just remember that the combination of getting enough sleep at night and napping during the day could be key factors in benefiting your health.