Here’s What Happens To Your Brain When You Nap
The shame of napping is finally starting to decrease and for a good reason too. Taking a nap during the day will not only give you a quick energy boost, but it will also confer some serious health and cognitive advantages as well. This statement has also been proven scientifically.
Humans sleep only once a day, unlike the 85% of all the mammalian species. The scientists cannot conclude if we are naturally monophasic (as opposed to poly-phasic) or the modern society made us like that.However one thing is sure, nearly one third of us says that we are not getting enough sleep.
This so called power naps are excellent for your body because the can boost your brain, they can alleviate your sleep deficits, they can also bring improvements to the creative problem solving, perceptual learning, statistical learning, object learning and the verbal memory. In other word these power naps help us with logical reasoning, symbol recognition, our reaction times, math, and they also improve our mood and feelings of sleepiness and fatigue. In addition, napping is also very good for your blood pressure, your heart, stress levels, and surprisingly, these naps can even help you with your weight management.
Even though you cannot believe it, there are a lot of benefits of napping. Every day you hear people say to you that you need to go on a diet, that you need to exercise more often, but no one ever tells you to take a short nap. Read this article and see all the amazing benefits of taking a short nap. After you’ve read this article, I’m sure that you will take a nice nap, and you won’t be feeling guilty about it.
Take A Nap For The Sake Of Your Heart
According to one study, which was conducted in Greece, adult males who took an afternoon nap at least three times per week were 37% less likely to die from a heart related disease compared to men who never take a short afternoon nap.You may not believe that these study results are accurate, but let me tell you that NASA scientist have been studying this as well.
In many countries, it is custom to have a nap (siesta) after lunch, and coincidentally, nearly all such countries have a very low rate of fatal heart attacks. On the other hand, we have countries, such as United Kingdom and the United States, in which the leading cause of death are the heart attacks. This fact is important for this article, because none of these countries advocates afternoon naps. Actually, taking a short nap in the afternoon in these countries, could end up costing you your job.
Aside for being great for the health of your heart, the nap has also many other health benefits.Here are just few of them:
- Improves the cognitive performance
- Increases the alertness
- Improves the memory
- Improves the relaxation
- It reduces the stress
Foe several decades we have known that napping is especially great for learning, performance, memory and alertness.
In 1995, NASA conducted a groundbreaking study, on 747 pilots, to examine the beneficial effects of napping. Every pilot was allowed to nap for 40 minutes during the day, sleeping on average for 25.8 minutes (which is just about right). The ones who napped demonstrated vigilance performance improvements from 16% in median reaction time to 34% in lapses compared to the ones who did not napped.
If you thought that grabbing a cup of coffee in the middle of the day is a good idea, you might as well think again.
According to a study, conducted in 2008, naps are better than caffeine when it comes to improving the verbal memory, the motor skills and the perceptual learning. Afternoon naps improved the recall memory in those who napped, compared to the caffeine group who did not took a nap. It should be noted, that the researchers had their participants nap between 60 and 90 minutes. However, this study showed that the caffeine impairs the motor sequence learning and declarative verbal memory.
Does The Length Of A Nap Affect The Benefits?
If we have to answer this question, we would have to say, yes and no. We are saying this because even 20 minute nap in the afternoon, can provide you with all the benefits of the napping. However the length of the nap is very important, because it determines what sort of benefits you are likely to experience. Therefore the napping can be divided into many different categories, such as:
20 Minute Nap
This kind of short power nap has a dramatic effect on your mental alertness and your motor learning skills and it also enhances your memory.
20 To 30 Minute Nap
This length of the nap will boost your memory and it will also improve your creativity.
30 To 60 Minute Nap
If you want to improve your decision making skills, this is the right nap for you. This nap is extremely beneficial for your brain, because it improves the part of your memory that’s responsible for memorizing things such as the alphabet; directions and etc.
60 To 90 Minute Nap
This type of nap is the most beneficial of all, because this nap ensures that you the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is extremely important for you. This is because once you reach the REM sleep, it’s almost as if the brain resets itself. It is almost like starting at the beginning again. According to some studies, this kind of nap, has a dramatic effect on the brain in terms of problem solving. NASA conducted the same studies, and they also ended up with the same result.
When Napping Is Not A Good Idea
Even though it has all this amazing benefits, napping is not a good idea for everyone. This afternoon naps can lead to a sleep deprivation in some cases. This can happen to people who take afternoon naps and then have trouble falling asleep at night. Some people, on the other hand, feel great when they wake up in the morning after a long sleep, but if they take a short nap, they feel dazed and often have difficulty trying to concentrate. Finally, there are societies where napping at work is frowned upon, in which case it could interfere with your career.
However we recommend that you take a nap, if you can, and experience all the amazing benefits of the napping.