The Scientific Power of Naps: 7 Types and Their Amazing Benefits
Who doesn't love a great nap? Especially on a Sunday afternoon while watching football or a favorite movie. It's the perfect way to recharge and relax. Plus, it brings many excellent and powerful benefits to your mind and body.
To reap all the great benefits, you should indulge in naps with care. When naps are overused, they can interfere with nighttime sleep and throw sleep-wake cycles all out of whack. To get the most out of your naps, let's take a look at the scientific power of naps, their amazing benefits, and the seven different types you’ll likely experience.
The Science Behind Naps
Do you ever feel like you're in a slump between the hours of 1:00 to 3:00 pm? Well, you're not alone. And there's a scientific explanation. Although we are biologically designed to sleep the most extended amount at nighttime, our body is also designed to take a rest in the middle of the day.
During this time frame, your body temperature drops and your melatonin rises. Both of these are cues for your body to sleep. Most cultures today don't support the idea of taking daytime naps. It turns out we're not lazy; our bodies are hard-wired for a midday rest.
The Undeniable Benefits Of Naps
Just one well-timed nap can:
Just a short 20-minute nap can deliver your body with a massive boost of energy, which leads to being alert. Whether you need added alertness for work, class, or driving, catch some zzz's for a quick fix.
Improve Concentration Levels
Nappers have significantly higher and longer concentration levels compared to non-nappers.
Elevate Your Mood
Naps help to improve your emotional regulation. It's what increases your ability to handle frustration, impulses, and overall makes you a happier person. Next time you're feeling grumpy, try fitting in a quick power nap.
Improve Memory and Learning Abilities
Sleeping is critical when it comes to your brain's ability to learn and process memories. Naps help contain new information, helping you ace that upcoming math test. If you're struggling in classes, a hearty 60 to 90-minute nap may be just what you need.
Provide Better Decision Making Skills
Naps significantly improve your cognitive flexibility, which allows you to remember new information and helps you make important decisions with better judgment.
Unleash Your Creativity
A simple, short nap elevates your brain's right hemisphere. It's the area of your brain that oversees creativity. Napping also enhances communication between your brain's right and left hemisphere which combines your creative mind with the analytical side, resulting in new and bright ideas.
Boost Physical Performance
Naps are a great pre-game or pre-practice tool for athletes who want to perform at their best. Any level athlete can benefit from naps as they increase motor performance, accuracy, speed, and strength. If you hit the gym after work, consider making a pit stop at home for a quick nap to perform even better.
A short nap during the day helps strengthen your body's reaction to stress. It also increases your immune system if you're sleep deprived. Climb into bed and melt away your stress and stabilize blood pressure.
Maintain a Healthy Physical Appearance
Sleep is essential for both inside and outside of your body. If you're sleep deprived, it can make you look tired, less healthy, and less attractive. Yikes. Naps can help supplement your nighttime sleep to help keep you looking young, healthy, and full of energy. It's honestly nature's built-in anti-aging supplement!
7 Different Types of Naps
1. The Daytime Nap
The daytime nap is the most popular type of rest. If you own your own business, have the flexibility in your day, or have time on the weekends for a power nap, you can boost your energy, focus, and mental capacity in a brief amount of time. Between the hours of 1:00 3:00 pm, nap for 25 minutes to feel sharper and better all day long. Any longer than 25 minutes and you'll wake up feeling groggy, so set that alarm and stick to it.
2. The Going-Out Nap
This nap is for all the people who still love a good night out, but don't always have the energy. If you're planning a late night out, try taking a 90-minute nap before you leave for the night. You'll get a significant energy boost and allow yourself the stamina to keep the party going all night long!
Remember that this is a special occasion nap, don't overuse it or your nighttime patterns may change. Also, try to get up the following morning at your regular waking time regardless of what time you came home. Yes, you'll be tired, but when nighttime hits you'll be able to stick to your regular sleep schedule.
3. The Travel Nap
Calling all travelers! This one's for you. Travel naps can reduce jet lag, frustration, and tiredness. They transition you to new time zones, supplement nighttime sleep, and can make up for any lost rest due to traveling. Taking a snooze on the plane is a great idea. Just a simple 20-minute nap can help you push through jet lag and still let you fall asleep at night on time.
4. The Teen Nap
Teenagers experience a huge circadian clock shift, which makes them want to stay up late and sleep in late. Combine this with early school times, and you'll have a sleep-deprived teenager on your hands. Lack of sleep puts teens at risk for academic, behavior, health, and emotional problems. More than anything, a daily 20-minute nap after school can prove the scientific power of naps and tremendously help teenagers regulate their energy.
5. The New Parent Nap
Moms and dads of newborns and young kids lose a ton of sleep. During the first year of a child's life, new parents lose about 44 days of sleep! A key napping strategy is to nap whenever your child sleeps. Instead of cleaning or doing other chores, focus on getting the rest you need. It will lead to more energy, patience, and focus on pouring into your child, partner, and life.
6. The Sports Nap
Getting enough sleep is crucial in sports performance. A well-timed nap can be your new secret weapon. A short 15 to 20-minute nap will provide immediate mental and physical benefits and won't make you feel laggy or tired. A more extended rest can also deliver great benefits; you'll have to get past the tired period of waking up and feeling dazed. Once that feeling fades, you'll have even longer physical and mental benefits to crush your competition or power through a tough workout.
7. The Caffeine Nap
This particular nap is excellent for days when you're dragging (cough, Mondays). For a quick lift, you'll be combining caffeine and a short rest at once. Drink a cup of coffee (six to eight ounces) very quickly, and then immediately find a quiet place to crash for a 20-minute nap. You'll awake just as the caffeine is starting to kick in, so you can reap those benefits and feel refreshed from your rest at the same time. Genius.