Napping More Can Reduce Stress, Improve Your Focus And Much More

If you believe that naps are just for children, you're wrong!

Experts are claiming that naps can be beneficial for everyone. Getting some shut-eye in the middle of the day can improve alertness and focus. It improves the way your brain handles things like solving problems, recalling events, and learning new skills - and can even improve a cranky mood.

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Napping improves more than your brain function and emotional well-being. It also helps with regulating your weight, lowering your risk of heart disease, and reducing your stress levels. In a study conducted in Greece by the American College of Cardiology, the scientists there found something interesting: naps seemed to be linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

"Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes. For example, salt and alcohol reduction can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mm Hg," explained Manolis Kallistratos, who is a cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece.

"These findings are important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10 percent." 

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Another study conducted by NASA in 1990 revealed even more benefits of napping. They observed commercial pilots conducting long-haul flights, who were divided into two groups: one group took a pre-planned 40-minute nap, whilst the other did not.

What they found was that the group of pilots who did take a nap were more alert and had better concentration than those who did not, which entails safer flights as well.

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So how should you be napping? According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are more than just one way to squeeze in some shut-eye in the afternoon: 

  • Scheduled naps. With this type, you go to sleep even if you don't feel drowsy. It's part of your plan to stay alert later.
  • Emergency naps. If you're overwhelmed with stress or fatigue, this is the nap for you.
  • Regular naps. You make this type a part of your everyday routine.
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How long should you nap? That depends. Different lengths can have different effects. Power naps, for example, last for up to 20 minutes; you won't fall into a deeper sleep, which will make it easier to wake up and get back into the groove of your day. An hour-long nap, however, will put you into a deeper sleep. This gives your brain a boost in processing power. You might have to deal with a groggy feeling for a bit after you wake up.

Taking a 90-minute nap lets you experience an entire sleep cycle. It can be easier to wake up since your sleep cycle doesn't get interrupted. A nap of this length will reduce your stress, boost your creativity, and leave you feeling refreshed.

Are you a fan of naps? Have you considered making them part of your everyday routine? Let us know in the comments - and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation by your doctor. Your health is important to us!