Napping is an activity that has gained popularity in the past few years. People are starting to realize how beneficial it can be to take a quick nap during the day, but what exactly are those benefits? Napping can improve your memory and productivity levels at work by up to 40%. It’s also been shown that naps help you learn new information faster.
A study done on NASA astronauts showed that their performance increased significantly after taking short 20-minute naps before performing difficult tasks. This shows us how much of an impact even small amounts of sleep can have on our brain function. If you want more time throughout your day, or if you just need a break from all the stressors around you, try having a quick catnap!
Naps may help us consolidate new information (the process by which our brain converts data to long-term memory). It appears that a good snooze right after learning something new aids in the retention of that knowledge.
In a modest 2019 research, researchers split 84 undergrads into three groups. They all spent 90 minutes learning about crab species. Then one group napped for an hour, a second group stayed at it for another hour to learn (i.e., “cramming”), and the last group watched an hour-long movie.
After that, they all went to crab school for the last time. They spent the final 90 minutes on crab school. After a 30-minute break, they took another exam, and one week later, they took another test.
On the first exam, the napping and “cram” group outperformed the movie group. On the second test, the nap group outperformed everyone else.
Napping has also been connected to improved perceptual learning (discriminating between different things) and episodic memory (remembering specific events or incidents).
Although you should keep washing your hands and practicing physical distancing, regular napping may help your immune system.
“Sleep deprivation increases the release of pro-inflammatory markers and causes immunodeficiency,” says Natasha Fuksina, MD, a board-certified internal medicine doctor. “Counteracting this with napping during the day for a period of several days improves the immune system and cellular function.”
In a tiny 2015 study with 11 men, for example, they slept for only two hours one night. The following day, they took a 30-minute nap and then got a full night’s rest that night.
The naps lowered inflammatory cytokines and norepinephrine, a hormone that aids in immune function.
Improve night alertness.
Several studies have shown that naps of 30 to four hours in length taken ahead of time, known as a “prophylactic nap,” enhance performance and alertness for individuals who work at night or overnight. napping during the trip home from work may also improve nighttime driving attention. However, most of these trials also include the use of caffeine, which is likely responsible for the improvement.
A 1995 Sleep study, which compared naps and coffee, found that “naps, in general, produced longer and less graded changes in performance, mood, and alertness than did caffeine, which displayed peak effectiveness and loss of effect within about six hours.
Improve daytime alertness.
According to a range of laboratory research, daytime napping also seems to boost mental alertness and performance. Researchers discovered, however, that shorter naps were more successful than longer ones.
The most successful period was 10 minutes, which resulted in the best scores in all sleep measures, including ” subjective drowsiness, tiredness, energy, and cognitive performance.” A 30-minute nap might produce the same results as a 10-minute nap but may result in “a period of decreased attention.”
Improve physical stamina.
Napping has been shown to have a beneficial influence on physical stamina and performance, according to a 2007 research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. After a 30-minute post-lunch nap, 10 healthy guys went through a series of sprints in the Journal of Sports Sciences in 2007.
After the naps, sprint times improved, suggesting that a post-lunch nap “improves alertness and elements of mental and physical performance following partial sleep deprivation.” They believe that napping may be an essential element of athletes’ training regimens or competition schedules when they are limited on sleep.
Conclusion paragraph: By understanding the role of napping, you can learn to take effective naps that support your body’s internal clock and maintain your energy level throughout the day. You will feel more refreshed after a nap or power nap because it provides an opportunity for physiological rest during periods when sleep is difficult to come by. When taken at appropriate times, these little breaks can make all the difference in how productive you are over time.