There is a growing trend in workplace health and wellness to focus more on mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future or getting caught up in making judgments about what’s happening. It has proven stress relief benefits. We highly recommend mindfulness, but if meditation isn’t your thing, know that a good old fashioned nap also has health benefits. The health benefits of napping are numerous and they vary depending on length of time asleep.
For instance, researchers with Cal-Berkeley found afternoon naps dramatically increase learning ability and memory.
Take a look at just what a midday nap can do for you.
Napping Increases Energy and Alertness
As Natural Society points out:
“Experts say a 10 to 20 minute ‘power nap’ is best for refreshing your mind and increasing energy and alertness. The sleep isn’t as deep as longer naps, which allows you to get right back at your day upon waking.”
A 30 minute nap can lead to 30 minutes of grogginess, as you are often waking just as your body enters the deeper stages of sleep.
Improve Your Memory and Learning
A 40-60 minute nap is good for memory boosting. It seems that these naps push information to your brain’s more permanent storage so they don’t get overwritten.
These naps also clear out the brain’s short term memory storage, so you can retain new information.
Improve Your Senses and Creativity
The longest naps—around 90 minutes—are good for those people who just don’t get enough sleep at night. It’s a complete sleep cycle. It can improve your sensory perception and creativity by connecting insights and adding fluidity to your web of existing ideas
Improve Your Health and Mood
Sleep deprivation increases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Too much cortisol can weaken the immune and muscular systems, disrupt learning and memory, and even lead to heart disease or diabetes. Lack of sleep causes anxiety, irritability, and depression.
When you sleep, you release growth hormone, which counteracts cortisol to boost your immune system and aid in muscular repair and mood stabilization.
Next time someone questions your desire for a nap, tell them you’re improving your overall well-being.