Napping has always been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. If you have younger sibling, preferably in the toddle stages, you know exactly what I am talking about. Our brothers or sisters have been put down to rest to give mommy a much-needed break. But who is to say that this is the only reason why?
First things first, taking a nap doesn’t have to be 3 hours long!!! It can be a powernap of 15-20 minutes. Just the simple fact closing your eyes and drifting away is beneficial. Napping especially in adulthood has many benefits than you may think. Before we talk about the benefits let’s talk about some negatives that occur when we don’t take a nap during the day.
Lack of a nap makes a person more irritable, grumpy or cranky than those that do nap at some point during the day. There have been studies that indicate that lack of sleep affects our mood. Besides our mood it can affect out health. Stress overcomes our bodies as college students. So, lets put this horrible feeling at ease by taking a nap here and there. Taking a nap helps reduce stress therefore less stress means lower blood pressure and more happy productive people. As per an article on eight.com a study conducted at NASA found that “sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%”. Imagine waking up from a wonderful nap and feeling refreshed and read to continue working on that 8-page paper.
By taking a 15-20-minute nap, the Sleep Foundation states that a nap relax you and enhances performance further validating the study conducted at NASA. These military personnel are people we depend on to protect our lives in more ways than thought possible. I wouldn’t be able to believe what were to happen if they fell asleep on the job. Mistakes and accidents are reduced as per Eight.com. I know that when I wake up from my nap I am more aware of what I am doing and how I am doing it. We all need that little shut eye to get our lives together.
Let’s talk about more benefits of napping. Weight control is probably one thing that might not come to mind when we think of napping. Napping has been proven to help to maintain a steady weight and avoid the dreaded freshman 15. Weight control is something many people struggle with at any age.
When to take your nap to get the best outcome you may ask? The ideal time to take a nap is between 1-3pm. This is due to our sugars and energy dropping. This is also an optimal time because some people may take naps later in the day and it could affect their sleeping schedule. So in order to avoid this it would be better to take a nap before 4 pm to make sure it doesn’t mess with you later.
How long to take your nap? It depends on what you want the outcome to be. A 10-20-minute nap is ideal to boost your energy and alertness. So, sleep on and wake up feeling refreshed. A 30-minute nap puts people at risk for grogginess feeling. Think of a hangover feeling when you think of a 30-minute nap. A 60-minute nap improves memory. Is there anything you want or need to remember? This is the ideal timeframe for you then. Lastly, a 90-minute nap is considered a full cycle nap. You have a deeper stage of sleep and maybe even Rapid Eye Movement (REM). REM has been correlated with dreaming. This timeframe improves creativity, emotional and procedural memory. Being that this timeframe is easier to wake up from this also means that you will arise refreshed with no grogginess like a 30-minute nap.
I love to sleep and I value it deeply. We as students forget that if we don’t care for our own bodies then who will? A nap here and there has been proven to have many benefits from health related to just overall mood. I make sure to plan a nap (yes, I plan my naps) daily. I know that I cannot function correctly if I don’t take a nap. I stay up late sometimes and wake up early so a nap is definitely need to get me thinking and acting straight. So many college students can benefit from taking a nap. Then they don’t have to be falling asleep in that oh so important lecture class. So let’s begin to care for ourselves and please take a nap.